Food, Wine, Travel Magazine, Winter 2020

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the food, wine, & spirits issue


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letter from the editor At a recent travel conference I attended, more than one of the presenters said that food has become a motivating factor for travelers when they choose a destination. Travelers want unique food and wine experiences, so “culinary tourism” has become a big thing, and the number of companies offering foodie experiences has grown. What, you may ask, is a foodie experience? Cooking classes, street food tours, localsonly bar and restaurant tours and crawls, wine tasting, or one-of-a-kind restaurant experiences are just a few of the activities foodies can choose. In this issue of Food, Wine, Travel Magazine, we present you with food wine, and spirit experiences. From Manhattan’s East Village and Keuka Lake Wine Country in New York to the the islands in the Venetian lagoon and Melbourne’s Wine Peninsula and places in-between, we’ll tell you about the wonderful foods and spirits you can enjoy all over the world. We hope you’ll enjoy discovering the great offerings of a small county in Indiana as well as eating “fresh as it gets” in San Mateo County in California. We’ll tell you why Hungary’s national drink has its own museum and why Baltimore is the unofficial Tater Tot capital. We’re serving up all that and more in this issue. As a side note, I want to let you know that our writers live and work all over the world. You may notice, therefore, that some of the spellings or word uses are a little different as the writers use their authentic voices. It’s all part of the adventure, after all. Cheers!


Christine Cutler Executive Editor

Christine Cutler | Executive Editor Debbra Dunning Brouilette | AssociateEditor Noreen Kompanik | Associate Editor Irene Levine | Assistant Editor Jan Smith | Assistant Editor, Columns Robyn Nowell | Marketing Manager Paula Shuck | Marketing

Editorial Board

Debbra Dunning Brouilette David Drotar MaryFarah Kurt Jaconbson Irene Levine

David Nershi Robyn Nowell Amy Piper Jan Smith

Contributing Writers/Photographers Alison Abbott L.M. Archer Pam Baker Debbra Dunning Brouillette MaryRose Denton Diane Dobry Mary Farah M’Liss Hinshaw Christina Kantzavelos Veronica Matheson Nancy Mueller Janie Pace Valerie Estelle Rogers Lori Sweet Priscilla Willis

Jane. Simon Ammeson Gary Baker Anita Breland Christine Cutler Andrew Der Robin Dohrn-Simpson Joeann Fossland Kurt Jacobson Noreen Kompanik Lisa Morales Robyn Nowell Amy Piper Cori Solomon Kathleen Walls

All articles & photographs are copyright of writer unless otherwise noted. No part of this publication may be reproduced without express written permission.

Magazine Layout & Design Christine Cutler

Contact On the cover: All Blues salad mix featuring a blueberryquince vinaigrette. Photo courtesy of Terramar Brewing

Editor: IFWTWA: Marketing: Visit our website:

Food, Wine, Travel Magazine is an official publication of the International Food, Wine, Travel Writers Association.


3 From the Editor 8 A Bellyful of Flavor in Manhattan’s East Village 11 Discovering the Magnificent Culinary Treasures of Taos 14 Hendricks County, Indiana: 7 Must Have Foodie Experiences 18 Charm City Loves Its Tots 20 Six Off-Beat Places in Albuquerque, New Mexico 22 Traditional Chinese Medicine in Hong Kong 24 Keuka Lake Wine Country in New York’s Southern Finger Lakes 30 French Wine for Royalty 33 Weltenburg Abbey~Traveling The Danube to One of the World’s Oldest Monastic Breweries 43 Six micro-Wineries to Watch in the Willamette Valley 45 Where Earth & Water Meet 42 The Sundowner~ An African Safari Tradition 46 Fabulous Food on the Island of Hawai’i 50 Unicum~The Hungarian National Drink with Its Own Museum


52 Much More Than Meets The Eye: Connecting Materials and Idea Through the Artistic Lens of Vik Muniz in Partnership with Ruinart 54 Picture Yourself Here—Japan 56 For the Love of Pasta: Italian Cuisine & Five Myths You Need to Stop Believing 60 Upscale Dining in a Robe 62 Melbourne’s Wine Playground 65 Hit the Trail for a Delmarva Wine Weekend 67 Exploring the Sea, the Hills, and the. Mountains of Northern Italy 70 Quench Your Thirst in Billings, Montana 72 Kitchens for Good Cooks Up Change 74 Dining As Fresh As It Gets~ California’s San Mateo County 76 The Crayeres of Maison Ruinart – A 300-year-old Tradition 78 The Ritz-Carlton Toronto—Luxury Dining Abounds 80. Discover Gilbert, Arizona 83 Luscious Lake Charles 86 Baja California’s Newest Cuisine: Valle de Guadalupe Restaurants Leading the Way 89 Meet Our Contributors


Join us in Focus on • Professional Development • Networking • DMO/CVB Private Sessions • Food • Wine • Travel

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Florida! The International Food Wine Travel Writers 2020 Conference November 8-11, 2020 The Atlantic Hotel & Resort Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

g n i c n u o nn


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Chef Dean Max

Tentative Workshops Include

• Culinary Panel • Improve Your Writing Panel • Pitching DMOs • Writing Food • Navigating the World of Pinterest 7

A Bellyful of Flavor in Manhattan’s E ast Village By Anita Breland


ber drivers queuing for a late-night Punjabi plate. A Japanese family gathering for a tray of freshly made takoyaki. Celebrities cruising for a sweet fix at a beloved dessert spot. These are just a few of the footsteps followed by participants in the newest tour from In Food We Trust, one of New York City’s most innovative food tour operators. The Belly That Never Sleeps tour celebrates the 24/7 food culture of the East Village, a neighborhood straddling a cultural divide between the tiny West Village and the Lower East Side. My husband and I took the tour last fall on a visit to New York. We highly recommend it to visitors and New Yorkers alike! In the East Village, a few square blocks of vibrant immigrant restaurants and grocery stores juxtapose with iconic New York standouts in a neighborhood that micro-identifies with the West Village. The East Village Historic District received its designation in 2012, thanks to its architecturally significant buildings and its place in American history. Tour guide Angelis Nannos led our food walk—entertaining, informing, and feeding us for several delicious hours. Snippets of local lore from the time of Alexander Hamilton to the 1970s and Led Zepellin enlivened our time together and gave my husband and me a new perspective on one of the Big Apple’s more culturally diverse neighborhoods.

A 24/7 Neighborhood The “Belly” tour takes in some of the city's best-known street food destinations, along with eateries that are under the radar, even for many native New Yorkers. In the space of just a few blocks, we experienced fast-food Japan, a robust Ukrainian spread, and an improbable version of tacos that contains neither tortillas nor traditional Mexican ingredients. Some of the places we visited are open around the clock, serving a varied immigrant community whose members have “unsocial” working hours, as well as a late-night crowd coming in after nearby off-Broadway and club performances. The evening tour gave us the experience of a neighborhood famous for its late-night open hours, without having to stay up past bedtime.

Open-faced paratha “taco” at Tac N Roll in the East Village ©Tom Fakler; Angelis Nannos pouring sake at Dokodemo Japanese Grill ©Tom Fakler


Clockwise from right: “Menu of the day” for a New York food tour ©Tom Fakler; Savorysweet Takoyaki at Dokodemo in the East Village, New York ©Tom Fakler; Shaping Takoyaki at Dokodemo Japanese Grill ©Tom Fakler; A Mighty Quinn’s Barbecue sampler ©Tom Fakler

Japanese Street Food and a Bellyful of BBQ As soon as we’d settled onto the high stools at the Dokodemo Japanese Grill, Angelis excused himself to place an order at the counter and selected several small bottles from a refrigerator at the back of the room. Back at our table, he fished in his backpack, pulled out tiny ceramic cups, and poured a round of chilled sake. At the next table, a Japanese family passed an aromatic tray of freshly made takoyaki, a snack originating in Osaka. Angelis promised our takoyaki would soon be ready. The dish features minced octopus or tempura, pickled ginger, and green onion, and gets its spherical shape from a special baking mold. A drizzle of takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise, and a sprinkling of dried bonito added a sweet-savory kick. Later, we sat down for a serving of ribs and brisket, pickled veggies and coleslaw at Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque. This popular barbeque joint began as an outlet in Williamsburg’s Smorgasburg, serving up food that the owner and founder of the restaurant chain calls “Texalina,” a cross between Texas and North Carolina styles. The generous sample


featuring sustainable smoked meats, had us ready to return for a full plate! My husband Tom pronounced Quinn’s barbecue as good as any he enjoyed during his ten years in central Texas. I grew up in Texas and found the “Texalina-style” barbecue to be the next best thing to a trip back to Dripping Springs!

A Sit-down Dinner In the last episode of his Parts Unknown series, Anthony Bourdain sampled pierogi at Veselka, a wellloved East Village restaurant. We stopped there as well, for a perfectly timed sit-down which included a time-out for conversation and some really good food. We enjoyed the pierogis, moon-shaped steamed dumplings with a variety of fillings that included mushroom, minced meat, and cheese. We had hearty borscht—garnet-red, steaming, and floating a dollop of sour cream. Crisp latkes came to our table with tiny dishes of apple sauce and sour cream, but for a truly local taste experience, our server advised us to try them with a simple dash of sugar. She was right; they were tasty indeed!

Culture and Kitsch Angelis’ tours are incredibly well researched—this one a year in the making--and the extensive background preparation shows. His “Belly” tour steers between old-school eateries, such as restaurants in the former Ukrainian Village and places known only to locals. Every bite comes sprinkled with fascinating bits of history and personal backstory. We learned about Punjabi Grocery & Deli, a diner where taxi drivers—and now Uber drivers—make rest stops. Then,we tasted the North Indian home cooking they queue for. A robust serving of pakoras, lentil curry and rice transported our taste buds to Delhi and beyond and challenged our will to not chow down at every stop on the tour. The East Village resonates with the vibes from three continents, but we ended the evening on a note that was pure American kitsch. At Ray’s Candy Store, a classic, slightly-dingy but beloved dessert shop, we had deep-fried Oreos and beignets, piping hot and covered in powdered sugar. We heard the story of Ray Alvarez, an Iranian immigrant who followed an unlikely path to local fame. For the past forty years, he has ridden a nostalgic food wave, feeding late-night crowds with an array of sweets familiar to visitors of theme parks or carnivals. His egg creams are legendary, and celebrity guests--from Bourdain to the Kardashians—have queued with locals and tourists to sample them. After all the eating we’d done before, we struggled to do more than taste the sweet foods here, but came away feeling like kids bringing home a championship Halloween haul.

Take-away Memories As we finished the tour, a fellow participant exclaimed, “This is more than visiting a checklist of restaurants; it is an experience!” Tom and I agreed. Now that we’re back home in Portugal, each time we call for an Uber, we think of a certain Punjabi diner in the East Village. The little sake cups from our tour, sourced from Korin, a high-quality restaurant supply outlet serving many of New York’s top chefs, are useful mementos, too—perfect for serving condiments at our home table. They also remind us that it might be time to book a table at the nearest Japanese restaurant, and of course, order sake.

More from In Food We Trust? New Yorkers are blessed to enjoy just about any cuisine on earth, simply by making their way to one of the city’s boroughs. Tours offered by In Food We Trust provide a unique, insider’s take on New York’s foodie secrets, with no overlap between the tours. Travelers looking for a day-time food tour, or with limited time, might enjoy No Passport Required, a culinary trip around the world in Midtown, Manhattan, as we did on an earlier visit to New York.


Bowl of borscht at Veselka, with sour cream ©Tom Fakler; Pierogis and latkes at Veselka ©Tom Fakler; Guide Angelis Nannos with a plate of deep-fried Oreos at Ray’s ©Tom Fakler; A deep-fried Oreo at Ray’s Candy Store ©Tom Fakler

Discovering the Magnificent Culinary Treasures of Taos By Noreen Kompanik

aos casts a lingering spell. Set on an undulating mesa at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in north-central New Mexico, the region is surrounded by a w e - i n s p i r i n g l a n d s c a p e s . Ta o s ’ ma gnificent desert palette changes almost hourly as the sun blazes across the western skies. But it was not just its geography that draws us in, for Taos is a fascinating kaleidoscope of diverse cultures. This diversity is never more apparent than in its eclectic cuisine that blends and celebrates its unique elements.


This southwestern mountain community was organic long before organic was “in vogue.” Fresh,


locally sourced, and organic foods are one of its strongest suits, embracing the notion that you are what you eat. To truly appreciate Taos’s amazing cuisine, it’s important to understand its fascinating cultural history.

Traditional Horno Bread Making at 
 Taos Pueblo The region’s earliest residents, the Taos-Tiwa Native American Indian tribe, have inhabited this breathtaking valley for more than a millennium. Some of their descendants still live and maintain a traditional way of life with no electricity or running water at Taos Pueblo. Designated both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historic

Landmark, this sacred ground is best experienced with an exclusive tour from Heritage Inspirations.

like Billy the Kid, the Stakeout has morphed into a community-shared dining establishment.

On a recent press trip to Taos, the IFWTWA members of our group were delighted to participate in the ancient art of breadmaking using hornos— outdoor wood-fired ovens made of adobe mud (a mix of local dirt, straw and water). After we burned the wood down to hot ash in the oven, we removed it. We roasted green chilis over the wood coals. We placed the bread on the base of the hot oven and baked it to golden brown. Topped with butter and the chopped chiles with mixed garlic, the result was spectacular. We weren’t sure if it was just the bread alone that was so amazing, or if the surrounding pueblo magic and history added to the experience. Either way, we couldn’t seem to get enough.

Here, a breathtaking view of the Rio Grande Gorge with sweeping vistas of the mesa and mountains enchanted us. French Chef Antoine Bardoulet prepares multi-course candlelit dinners utilizing ingredients from local sustainably-committed farmers, brewers, winemakers, bread makers, beekeepers, teamakers, and coffeemakers. From Dreamtree Farms Winter Walnut Apple Salad and Old Gem Farm Potato Leek Soup to Taos Bee Jalapeno Honey Dark Roasted Chicken and Tea.O.Graphy Fall Fig Tea Sorbet with Wumanti Hemp, there isn’t a dish here that isn’t tantalizing to the palate. The picturesque grounds, floor to ceiling windows, roaring fireplace, and soft candlelight all made for a simply unforgettable magical evening.

Sustainable Community Dining at Stakeout on Outlaw Hill Leave it to an art town like Taos that attracts creativity in every aspect of life to offer an incredibly unique dining experience. At sunset, we traveled by horseback to one of New Mexico’s most fascinating dining venues—The Stakeout on Outlaw Hill. Once a legendary Taos hideout for desperados and outlaws


De La Tierra at El Monte Sagrado The magic of Taos can best be experienced at the ma gnificent El Monte Sa grado, “The Sacred Mountain.” Inspired by the natural beauty and spiritual energy of the region, this exquisite casually elegant retreat features world-class relaxation, meditation and rejuvenation experiences.

We found that the peaceful serenity of this of this stunning property carries through to its signature restaurant, De La Tierra. With a Zen-like garden setting and relaxed ambience, it’s the perfect place to enjoy award-winning cuisine inspired by New Mexico’s seasonal offerings melding Southwest culture with European, French and Asian influences. Everything here is simply delectable. Regional standouts were the mouthwatering Taos Bison Burger and the slow-roasted Carne Adovado Burrito. For lunch before my relaxing massage at The Living Spa, the light and healthy Pear Pecan Salad was an ideal choice.

The Love Apple-Organic Home Cooking The Love Apple (La Pomme d’ Amour) is a cozy, 13table Northern New Mexican restaurant with an emphasis on local and organic top quality madefrom-scratch home cooking. The twist in its name pays homage to the fact that a 16th century French botanist discovered that the tomato, once thought to be poisonous, was indeed a culinary treasure. Located in the 1800s adobe structure once known as the Placitas Chapel, the restaurant proudly works in conjunction with local growers and artisan producers to create seasonal menus featuring the area’s regional bounty. If the food here isn’t delectable enough, the low-lit candlelight setting is romantically alluring. Every table should begin with the Buttermilk Yellow and Wheat-Free Blue Cornbread, served with sweet and

Photos (clockwise from right): Baked Tamale and Oaxocan Mole; Taos Bison Burger at De La Tierra- El Monte Sagrado; Grilled Ruby Red Trout at The Love Apple; Dreamtree Project Winter Walnut Salad at Stakeout-Outlaw Hill; Magnificent Grounds of El Monte Sagrado; Taos Pueblo; Native American Horno Bread Making; Horno Bread at Taos Pueblo

Previous page: The Many Colors and Culture of Taos


savory seasonal butters (We asked for seconds). For a total Southwest foodie experience, the Homemade Baked Tamale and Oaxocan Style Mole is topped with a farm fresh fried egg and crème fraiche. Their Grilled Ruby Rainbow Trout was a standout. Wrapped in corn husks with lime butter, and topped with Chipotle crème with a quinoa pinion fritter and cilantro lime relish, the tantalizing dish exploded with flavor. It was one of the best trout dishes I’ve ever tasted! With a mesmerizing landscape, flamboyant sunsets, an amazing art scene, and cultural history infused into every aspect of Taos life, this enchanting town dre w us like a moth to a flame. Add in its magnificent culinary treasures, and it just doesn’t get any better than this.

Hendricks County, Indiana: Must-Have Foodie Experiences


By Amy Piper Oasis Diner Burger


ndiana is a small-town mecca, and Hendricks County is no exception. It includes 11 towns of varying sizes—no cities, no mayors, just small burghs. Though these towns may be small, their flavors are big. Should you be lucky enough to visit the area, be sure to check out these seven must-have foodie experiences in Hendricks County.

Experience one of Indiana’s best pork tenderloin sandwiches at The Oasis Diner. The Indiana Foodways Alliance’s Tenderloin Lovers Trail features over 70 venues to try an authentic Hoosier pork tenderloin sandwich. Oasis Diner’s tenderloin ranks in the Top 10. Since I was a tenderloin rookie, I couldn’t wait to experience my first. Oasis Diner serves their tenderloin fried, blackened, or grilled. A table of locals held their breath while I selected, then nodded their heads in approval when I decided on fried. That’s the typical tenderloin, they assured me. The pork tenderloin, pounded thin and as big as the plate, came lightly breaded and deepfried to a golden brown. It’s accompanied with lettuce, tomato, purple onion, dill pickle chips, and garlic mayo, served on a toasted brioche bun. Today, I’m an experienced pork tenderloin enthusiast.

Enjoy a cuppa Joe at the Cabin Coffee Company. As I walked through the door, the aroma of roasting coffee beans wafted through the air.. Even before I tasted the coffee, the caffeine woke me up. Cabin


Coffee offers a wide variety of single-origin coffees from Brazil to Tanzania, featuring light roasts to dark. Their espresso bar offers lattes to cappuccinos. If you aren’t a coffee drinker, tea and fruit smoothies are available to quench your thirst. But, don’t just grab your coffee and go. Stay and enjoy the charming cabin décor with a western twist. A breakfast sandwich or a light lunch are good reasons to linger. Plaques reminded us to “Just be happy and have fun!” That was easy to do in this multi-sensory atmosphere.

Share a pizza at Charbonos. First, Charbonos isn’t a typical pizzeria, but rather an upscale venue with Tuscan countryside décor. I watched the pizza maker hand-stretch the dough while the wood-fired brick pizza oven stood ready to receive the doughy disk in their exhibition-style pizza kitchen. The result was a thin, crispy New York-style crust, the perfect shared appetizer. While the pasta is an excellent choice for an entrée, the tender New York strip steak marked by the grill with herbed butter melted on top, created one amazingly tasty bite. Broccolini and garlic mashed potatoes were popular sides, but I chose polenta fries: Polenta cooked firm, cut into long strips, and deep-fried for an exciting change of pace. In every restaurant I dine in, there’s one item that excites me. At Charbonos, it was the bread’s dipping sauce. Starting with olive oil and red wine vinegar, the sauce includes sun-dried tomatoes, jalapenos, and crushed red peppers. Dip in the warm house-made

Photos (clockwise from right): Bourbon-Street Pasta at Charbonos; Charbono’s wood-fired pizza oven; Cider Bar at Beasley’s-Orchard; Rusted Silo BBQ combination plate; Rusted Silo BBQ; Pork Tenderloin Sandwich at the Oasis Diner; Tiger-striped pumpkins at Beasley’s Orchard

bread or even that extra pizza crust for one amazing heavenly experience.

Re-Live the 1950s at the Mayberry Cafe Spotting the Mayberry Café wasn’t difficult, with Andy Taylor’s black-and-white sheriff ’s car parked out front. As I walked through the door, if I didn’t know better, I’d think I had stepped back in time 65 years to Aunt Bee’s dining room. Any seat has a view of a television with the Andy Griffith show on continuous play. That took me back to my childhood, remembering how I’d sit on the floor with my brothers, in front of a large console TV and watching Opie’s adventures. Chef-owner Brad Born loves to cook as much as he loves the Andy Griffith Show. He turns out some amazing all-American scratch home-cooking using the freshest local ingredients. My starter was fried biscuits tossed in cinnamon and sugar and served with apple butter. I could have made


a meal of these alone as they were that good. But I didn’t stop there. Mayberry Café is famous for Aunt Bee’s fried chicken that transported me back to the 1950s.

Taste the award-winning apple cider at Beasley's Orchard As I saddled up to the cider bar, I had a tough decision to make—apple cider or an apple cider slushie. It was a warm day, so before I explored all that the orchard had to offer, I chose the cider, and after my adventures, I cooled down with the slushie. Problem solved. Next I ventured into the orchard and picked a variety of firm, crisp apples before hopping on the hayride through the pumpkin patch. There I selected a square Blue Doll pumpkin that I’d never seen before, that later on made a tasty pumpkin pie. On the way back, I had to stop and try firing the apple cannon, where I managed to hit my target 100 percent of the time.

A variety of local produce can be found at the farm market, housed in a 100-year-old barn. I choose some apple butter from a wide selection of preserves. Visitors might even want to take home a gallon of that award-winning cider to enjoy later.

Watch the Ferris Wheel of Meat at the Rusted Silo Southern BBQ & Brewhouse They cook the ‘que’ low and slow in full view on their Ferris Wheel of Meat here, and it’s mesmerizing. Longmetal racks rotated chicken, ribs, brisket, and pork. The meats ride the wheel for hours, smoking in hickory and cherry wood and becoming more tender by the hour. When it’s finally ready, it’s falling-off-thebone tender. I had a choice of four house-made barbeque sauces—a Habanero Bourbon sauce, an Alabama white sauce, a Carolina mustard sauce, and a Kentucky Bourbon sauce. I enjoyed the slight sweetness behind the incredible Kentucky Bourbon sauce. Corn is a significant product of Indiana, and they serve it here with a Mexican twist, turning it into street corn —one of my favorite sides. I noticed several other nods to Mexican cuisine with Rusted Silo’s use of Habanero peppers and its house-made chorizo sausage. My favorite dessert was hands down the cold banana pudding. The contrast in temperatures made the banana pudding a cooling finish to the warmth of the meat and spices.

Revel in fresh baked goods at the Bread Basket Cafe & Bakery Transformation came to mind as I spotted the saying, “Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea.” A historic bungalow transformed into a café signaled home cooking from the start. The difference here is their food is made with love. And the eatery wants everyone coming through their door to feel that love. I felt it in the ham and cheese sandwich with apricot mustard spread—a winner for sure. After lunch, I visited the bakery and chose the smallersized chocolate cake and apple pie to take with me as an afternoon snack. Options for smaller portions exist, so I could sample a few, share with my family, and not feel guilty about the calories. If you’re looking for a multi-sensory experience with farm-fresh local ingredients, you’ll enjoy these foodie experiences in Indiana’s Hendricks County.


Apple pie and chocolate cake from the Bread Basket Cafe and Bakery

Visit Hendricks County !The Oasis Diner 405 West Main Street, Plainfield, Indiana 317-837-7777 !Cabin Coffee Company 5530 East US Highway 36 Suite 100 Avon, Indiana 317-563-3060 !Charbonos 128 North SR 267 Suite 102 Avon, Indiana 317-272-1900 !Mayberry Café 78 West Main Street Danville, Indiana (317) 745-4067

!Beasley’s Orchard 2304 East Main Street Danville, Indiana 317-745-4876 !Rusted Silo Southern BBQ & Brewhouse 411 North State Street Lizton, Indiana 317-994-6145 !Bread Basket Café & Bakery 46 South Tennessee Street Danville, Indiana 317-718-4800


Charm City Loves Its Tots By Andrew Der


f you think this article’s title refers to a Baltimore minor league baseball team or a 1960s underground hippie band, you are wrong.

What it does refer to is Washington, DC’s less-talked-about cousin and its appreciation of nostalgic snack food cuisine as a serious neighborhood menu alternative in a diverse urban community embracing its subtle eccentricity. Delightfully less than healthy in extreme quantities, Tater Tots were once the affordable unadulterated hash brown-like potato nugget most of us recall from a childhood pairing with hotdogs, but they are now a Charm City snack food choice for the big kids. And if you don’t believe me, check out the gazillion online Tot recipes making pasta so passé. Baltimore never fails to blend simple regional dining with local history and neighborhood culture, so if you experience insufficient appetizer variations or too many Maryland Chesapeake Bay crab cake choices (Is that possible?), maybe it’s time for you to take a break from menus just a bit too hip or pretentious for their own good. Perhaps the trending topics of organic farm-to-table dining and agritourism, along with paleo, low carb, keto, vegan, non-GMO, and low-gluten quinoa and kale salads (shudder) are taking the fun out of stuffing your face with simpler fare? Then show them. Show them all by irreverently making a Tater Tots entrée.

Pacific Northwest lays claim to Totchos origins. And while no one is looking, Tots may be taking over the world as Oven Crunchies in the United Kingdom and Ireland, Potato Gems and Potato Pom-Poms in Australia and New Zealand, and as Tasti Taters in Canada (That’s aboot right, eh).

How to Tater Tot Probably the favorite Baltimore venue for Tots as an entrée is at Alexander’s Tavern (in the historic Fells Point neighborhood ). It has made its way to the top of Tater Tot best-of lists which, I know sounds funny, but... Billed as “Serving up Baltimore’s favorite Tots at over two million sold,” their special Tater Tot menu offers ever ything from Tots sprinkled with Maryland crab meat to Totchos with queso, Baja chicken, salsa, and guacamole drizzled with sour cream. Or try their sweet potato Tots, Tots with bacon and cheese, Tots with chili con carne, Tots with housemade pickled veggies, Tots with pepperoni and marinara, Tots with barbecue pork, Tots with buffalo chicken, Tots with kimchi….Doesn’t this sound like Forrest Gump’s Viet-Nam war buddy Bubba Buford Blue’s describing all the ways he would prepare Tots instead of shrimp? And while Bubba is still running down all his shrimp recipes, Napoleon Dynamite’s favorite snack of choice he carried in his pockets during classes

History of the Tots In an attempt to find a use for leftover slivers of potatoes, Ore-Ida first made Tater Tots available in 1956. Heinz, the ketchup people, bought Ore-Ida in 1967 and continues to produce and distribute the Tots. (Is this a great country or what?) Today, Americans consume over 70 million pounds of Tots per year giving french fries a serious run for their money. Also find Tots at Sonic, Taco Bell, and in the Southwest as Potato Locos. The


Buffalo Tots

facilitated a National Tater Tot Day, although some thought it a practical joke? (Oh, the horror. The humanity.) Alexander’s Tavern is not just for Tot connoisseurs, either. Located on the main street of a 200-year-old pirate port neighborhood still rife with cobbled streets, historic homes, haunted houses, and bars frequented by Edgar Allen Poe, Alexander’s also has a premium all-around menu in a community having one of the highest concentration of restaurants and bars per square foot in the country. My favorite nonTot dish is a kimchi panini. Who knew?

Where (else) to Tater Tot While other favorite Tot-centric choices are Ale Mary’s and Red Star Bar and Grill also in Fells Point, sampling the varieties in different neighborhoods— or a Tot tasting if you will—is half the fun. And don’t limit your possibilities just because Tots may be a side dish. While the following notable rundown is not at all-inclusive, get started anyway. Ale Mary’s does wings and mussels especially wellwashed down with their specialty citrus crushes. At Red Star, pair a Tot with quirky but delicious sandwiches and martinis. For something really different, the Golden West Café in the subtly eccentric Hampden neighborhood is home of the renowned Miracle on 43rd Street winter holiday light display and the backdrop to the movie Hairspray. And as the origin of John Waters’, and the city’s, Pink Flamingos lore, Hampden also hosts the annual Honfest street festival. Abbey Burger Bistro and No Idea Tavern are in Federal Hill across from the downtown Inner Harbor and contemporary Harbor East. Abbey Burger is the place to substitute Tots for french fries with a plethora of custom burger creations, and No Idea is a good place to try Chesapeake Bay blue crab tots with daily specials. I have no idea what they are. The Chasseur in Canton does special events and block parties featuring small plate menu items if indecisive. Also in the neighborhood, Smaltimore will shake things up with sushi pairings and a gigantic regional microbrewery beer selection. Pair a Tot with one of the city’s best wings at City Limits Sports Bar in Locust Point—near super historic Fort McHenr y where Francis Scott Key wrote our National Anthem. Given Baltimore’s subtl y increasing wine tasting locations, Tot/wine pairings are only a matter of time. This is sooo Baltimore.


Tots with Chesapeake Bay Crab Dip; Jalapeño Tots; Just Tots

Six Off-Beat P!ces in Alb"uer#e, New Mexico By Janie H Pace


hen you visit Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the first time, your “must-sees” include the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Los Poblanos Farm, historic Old Town, the balloon festival in early October, Sandia Peak Tramway, and the local breweries and wineries. For your second trip to Albuquerque, however, there are six off-beat places to visit that will provide more adventure to feed both your body and soul.

Blades Bistro in Placitas Blades Bistro in Placitas is a casual, neighborhood restaurant in a country setting serving Sunday brunch and dinner. Created by executive chef-owner Kevin P. Baldergroe, the bistro serves up satisfying European and American foods that change with the seasons. For starters, I recommend the New England pan seared Crab Cakes, full of lump crab. The drizzle of Cajun Remoulade and sriracha aioli added the perfect touch of spice. The main course, Steak Au Poivre – a New York Strip Pepper Steak was panseared and encrusted with cracked black pepper, and then finished with a green peppercorn sauce. The steak was deliciously tender and full of peppery flavor. Other noted menu selections include Grilled Salmon and Chicken Francaise. The nightly specials alone here will keep you coming back.

Vic’s Daily Café Vic’s Daily Café, on the north side of Albuquerque, is a local favorite. Located about a half-mile west of I-25 in an industrial, commercial part of town, Vic’s is open for breakfast and lunch. The eatery is famous for its tender and delicious Breakfast Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs with chili and hash browns that fills the entire plate. I chose the Navajo Breakfast Special with eggs, a green and red chili sauce (called Christmas), pinto beans and melted cheese on Navajo bread. Food here is amazing, which is why this vegetarian-friendly, Americana Southwestern Café is a must-do. Blades Bistro; Blades Bistro Pepper Steak; Vic's Breakfast Chicken Fried Steak; Navajo Bread Special at Vic’s


Hotel Parq Central A hip location with modern décor, this trendy boutique hotel has a rooftop lounge with creative roaring 20s cocktails, savory small plates, and beautiful sunset views. However, the building itself holds a dark secret. The location is a former mental hospital and asylum for children. Staff and patients here noticed paranormal activity, strange whispers, a female watching people from the hallway, objects moving and sheets pulled off from those sleeping. Patients even awoke to find themselves covered in scratches. The hospital closed in the 1980s and fell into disrepair. But after a massive renovation, The Hotel Parq Central opened in 2010 with modern decor while still retaining some of its history and charms all new. Enjoy one of its signature cocktails like Pink Lady or Sazerac, and it won’t feel like an old haunted building at all.

Spur Line Supply Co. You’ll find a unique shopping experience at Spur Line Supply Co in the Historic Sawmill District in Old Town. Created by Tess Coats, the lifestyle shop contains a spacious arrangement of men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing and accessories, toys, records, books, and even an apothecary. All set in in a minimal high desert atmosphere, there’s even an airstream trailer inside that carries unique and eclectic gifts. Spur Line also carries beauty products, home and garden, and kitchen accessories.

Golden Crown Panaderia A father-son family-owned business, Golden Crown Panaderia has been a neighborhood Old Town Bakery since 1972. Offering a diverse selection of homemade breads and desserts, the bakery has supplied breads and pastries to many of the city’s finest restaurants and hotels for over 25 years. Golden Crown is famous for its original New Mexico green chili bread, and Biscochito, a buttery sugar, and nuts wedding cookie rolled in powdered sugar. The eatery also serves pizza, sandwiches, salads, smoothies and shakes along with local tea and gourmet coffees. You’ll find regional beers on tap along with custom stainless-steel keg wines and hard ciders.

Kaktus Brewing Company in Bernalillo Gourmet pizzas and salads made from quality ingredients like elk, duck, wild boar, organic spinach, and mushrooms are available at the award-winning Kaktus Brewing Company near the bosque in Bernalillo. This family-friendly nano-brewery serves flights of Amber, Basil Lager, Black IPA, Cream Stout, Dunkel Lager, Irish Red, and Rocky Raccoon IPA, to name a few. Menu winners include Bison Nachos, Buffalo Frito Pie, Build a Brat. Save room for a scoop of their locally made Sea Salt & Caramel Gelato.


Spurline Supply Company; Golden Crown Panaderia; Bread at Golden Crown Panaderia; A flight of beer at Kaktus Brewing


Traditional Chinese Medicine in Hong Kong

or many Westerners, the plants, roots, animal parts, and herbal concoctions of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) seem curiously exotic and downright strange. But in Hong Kong, these ancient remedies are not considered alternative at all. In fact, alongside hospitals that practice Western medicine are hospitals devoted to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). People requiring medical attention are free to choose between Western medicine and TCM, and in Hong Kong, more than a fifth of al l medical consultations are with practitioners of Chinese medicine.

What is Chinese Traditional Medicine? By Priscilla Willis

This traditional form of healthcare represents theories and experiences of Chinese physicians that date back five centuries. Traversing the streets of Hong Kong, you can see and smell dried abalone, intricately spun, ivory birds' nests, dried scallops, and ginseng; the same remedies used in ancient times and now providing a tangible link to early Chinese culture. {Source: Discover Hong Kong}

My Experience with a Chinese Herbalist Even if you're not in the market for a remedy, I highly recommend a visit to a Traditional Chinese Medicine shop. Accompanied by my translator Jeannie, I was on a mission to visit a Chinese herbalist. After disembarking the Star Ferry from Tsim Sha Tsui, we walked the narrow streets in the Central district, through the dank, wet market, past the Mid-Level escalators toward Li Yuen Street East and West. Along the way, we wandered into several sparkling, modern-looking Traditional Chinese


All photos are of the Hong Kong Chinese Herbalist, his herbs, and tonic.

Medicine shops showcasing bizarre ingredients behind walls of glass displays like a futuristic c o s m e t i c s c o u n te r. Ye t , a t i n y s h o p o f a n independent herbalist near Li Yuen Street East and West lured me into its mysterious, cramped, fluorescent-lit space. The instant I caught a glimpse of the rows of orange labeled jars filled with mysterious dried shapes, I gestured to my guide and entered the tiny, cluttered shop of a Chinese herbalist without a moment of hesitation. I watched as his wife gathered herbs to fill a prescription and he studied the pulse of an elderly gentleman. Seeing Chinese medicine practiced was something I knew I wanted to do, and without Jeannie, my guide for the afternoon, I wouldn't have been able to communicate with the herbalist. Unless you speak or write Chinese, you should always visit Chinese herbal emporiums with someone who knows the language. For 80 HKD (Hong Kong Dollars), he analyzed my "chi" through careful measurement of my pulse and accurately described my ailments. With Jeannie translating, I listened intently as he provided some general medical advice, then, proceeded with my herbal prescription by writing characters on a trackpad and then converted into an herbal recipe. He printed it out for me and asked if I wanted to have the tonic that day. For 40 more HKD, he would prepare the tonic if I’d give him two hours. Of course, I had to partake. We left the shop and meandered through the vendors selling their wares on Li Yuen Street East and West—two narrow alleyways called "the lanes" by Hong Kong residents and packed with a variety of clothing, accessories, and cheap gift items much like a flea market or swap meet. We continued to the SoHo area that here stands for "South of Hollywood


Road,” a happening place with a wide range of international restaurants and bars accessible by the Mid-Levels Escalator, the world's longest covered escalator.

Was I Able to Drink the Herbal Tonic? After a pit stop at a hip coffee and cheese cafe called Classified, it was time to head back to imbibe in my personalized herbal remedy. Just as before, it was the ancient Chinese man and me. Once again, I took my cues from him to see how you were supposed to drink this bowl of steaming murky brown liquid. Someone asked me if I'd seen the episode where Andrew Zimmern (of Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods fame) sampled a Chinese tonic and discarded it after a few sips. I'm proud to say that I finished mine!

Where to Buy Traditional Chinese Medicine Remedies In the West, Chinese herbalists practice their ancient arts in the Chinatowns of major cities. I would be able to "fill" my prescription in Little Saigon in Orange County, California if and when I choose to brave the bitter tonic again. In Sheung Wan district, there is an area with over 200 shops selling dried seafood and other medicinal goods. It's fascinating to see all the odd (to us) herbs, roots, and animal parts and watch shoppers inspect and then haggle over them. Wing Lok and Ko Shing streets specialize in ancient Chinese tonic foods. Bird's nest—made from the saliva of cave-dwelling birds called swiftlets—and ginseng are in high demand for they are believed to aid in a youthful complexion, increased energy, and longevity. And who doesn’t want that?


Discover Keuka Lake Wine Country in New York’s Southern Finger Lakes By Debbra Dunning Brouillette


ove over, California! For the second year running, New York’s Finger Lakes were named Best Wine Region in USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice a w a r d s . A n d t h a t ’s n o t a l l t h e accolades for this burgeoning wine country. VinePair, a digital review site for beer, wine and spirits, ranked the Finger Lakes #2 on its 2019 list of the World’s Top 10 Wine Destinations. So what makes this area in central New York, centered around three of its 11 Finger Lakes — Keuka, Seneca, and Cayuga — so special? I was able to “sip” for myself last May on a firsttime trip with other writers to the Southern Finger Lakes, concentrating on Keuka Lake wineries. My only regret is that I wasn’t able to stay longer and sample award-winning vintages from more Finger Lakes wineries. New York has become the nation’s third largest wine and grape producing state, and the Finger Lakes is now the home of more than 140 wineries.


Dr Konstantin Frank Wine Bottles

It’s All About the Terroir As with all great wine regions, it’s all about the terroir (“tare WAHr” a French term meaning “a sense of place”), which takes into account an area’s climate, soil, and terrain. Its cool climate, moderated by glacially carved lakes, which left behind acidic soil, has contributed to its growth and development.

His plantings of Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and others from European species of “old vine” grapes (Vitis vinifera) in 1957, changed the course of wine growing in the Finger Lakes and the United States. They are among the oldest vines in the country.

Since the Finger Lakes Region is on the same latitude as Germany (it’s sometimes compared to the Rhine Valley), it is no surprise that Riesling is the most widely planted varietal and has become its signature wine. You’ll find dry, sweet, and late harvest ice wine Rieslings in the Finger Lakes, although Gewürztraminer and Grüner Veltliner are German varietals that also continue to be successful.

Visit New York’s Most Award-winning Winery

Dr. Konstantin Frank and the Vinifera Revolution

Get a sense of the history of wine in the Finger Lakes by making time to visit the oldest winery in the region, Pleasant Valley Wine Company, located just outside the small town of Hammondsport at the southern end of Keuka Lake.

If you are a true oenophile (a lover or connoisseur of wine), you may be familiar with Dr. Konstantin Frank, a professor of plant science, who is credited with igniting the "Vinifera Revolution." Before Dr. Frank, American grape varieties such as Concord and Catawba were the norm, producing what some termed “drinkable” table wines but none had garnered international attention.


The Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery, established in 1962, is located on the west side of Keuka Lake, and is still going strong. You can choose from several different tasting experiences, some including food, from this iconic winery that won the most gold medals ever in 2013, a half-century after the first vines were planted.

Oldest Winery in the Region

It was established in 1860 and was the first winery in the country to win an award in Europe for American Sparkling Wine, way back in 1867! That’s why its sparkling vintages can still be called “champagne.”

And it proudly displays its designation as the first Bonded Winery in the U.S. Guided tours are offered daily from Memorial Day through mid-November through eight historic buildings and caves carved into the hillside, which are used as natural wine cellars. Wine tastings are free; there is a $3 per person fee for groups of eight or more. Visitors can also take a self-guided tour through the Great Western Winery Visitor Center.

Weis Vineyards and Domaine LeSeurre Now, cross over to the east side of Keuka Lake (driving time for a complete circuit of Keuka Lake is just over an hour) to sample wines from two of Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery’s former employees who have gone on to open successful wineries of their own. Hans Peter Weis, a native of the Mosel region of Germany, opened Weis Vineyards along with his wife, Ashlee, in 2017. The day we visited its tasting room in a former one-room schoolhouse overlooking Keuka Lake, Hans was on hand to pour us samples of several of his award-winning German-style wines, including Dry and S e m i - D r y R i e s l i n g s , G r ü n e r Ve l t l i n e r, a n d Gewürztraminer. Although we didn’t have time to taste them all, Weis Vineyards also produces a full range of red grape varietals, including unusual ones like Blaufränkisch (Lemberger) and Saperavi.


Photos (from opposite page): Overlooking Keuka Lake at Dr. Frank Winery ©Dr Konstantin Frank Winery; Weis Vineyards Tasting Room; Weis Vineyards tasting card; Hans Peter Weis pouring wine at Weis Vineyards Tasting Room;

Travel from Germany to France by walking next door to Domaine LeSeurre Winery, which specializes in dr y, French-style wines. Sébastien and Céline LeSeurre produced their first vintage as Domaine LeSeurre in 2012, and opened their tasting room in October 2013. Stay for a wine tasting and, if time permits, consider ordering a cheese and charcuterie board or a French cookie flight to pair with its current wine selections. When we visited, my personal favorite was a 2016 Rosé Cabernet Franc.

If time permits… I’ve mentioned four wineries, but there are many more on or near Keuka Lake, all unique in their own way. If time permits, sip, savor and see for yourself what makes the Southern Finger Lakes worthy of putting on your travel list. Read about them at this link: Finger Lakes Wineries.

There’s a Craft Beverage Trail, Too! If you’re interested in sampling beers, ales, hard ciders or spirits, the Southern Finger Lakes region has something for you too. A self-guided Craft Beverage Trail called the Craft Your Adventure Trail pairs over 30 craft breweries, cideries, or distilleries located in four counties with various outdoor adventures. Download the Craft Your Adventure App to find nearby craft beverage producers and discover suggested outdoor adventure pairings (optional, of course). Thanks to Corning & the Southern Finger Lakes for hosting me, along with several other writers, to this beautiful region of central New York. Log onto the website for more information about how to plan your visit.

Domaine LeSeurre Wines ©DomaineLeSeurre


Wine is sunlight, held together by water. ~Galileo Galilei

Where to Eat and Sleep We were based in Hammondsport, which the readers of Budget Travel voted "Coolest Small Town in America.” Our stay at the Best Western Plus, included a full hot breakfast and is just minutes away from the wineries. There are several other choices, including the Village Tavern Inn, near the historic town square. It’s not only a great choice for dinner after a day of wine tasting, but it’s an inn as well. (Restaurant closes seasonally; check the site for opening dates.)

Getting there By air: Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR) (Driving time to Hammondsport, approximately 1 hour 45 minutes) Elmira Corning Regional Airport (ELM)

(Driving time to Hammondsport, approximately 45 minutes) 29

Photos (Clockwise from top right): Domaine LeSeurre owner; Domaine LeSeurre tasting card; Pleasant Valley Wine Company Historic Tour ©Stu Gallagher; Liquid Shoes Brewing ©Cagwin Photography; Domaine LeSeurre Rosé Cabernet

French Wine for Royalty By Veronica Matheson


‌it had finesse and elegance which made it a very good choice



urgundy winemaker Olivier Leflaive tips his straw boater, gives me a warm handshake, and walks me to his dusty vintage car for a drive around the sleepy village of Puligny-Montrachet, two hours southeast of Paris.

Olivier is a big man with a gentle manner and an ever-present twinkle in his eye. He reminds me of that charming French entertainer Maurice Chevalier, so it is no surprise that Olivier was a musician in Paris before returning home to Burgundy to immerse himself in winemaking. These days Olivier’s only performances are when he is playing guitar for family and friends as he loves a good party.

Royal Wedding When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle married at Windsor Castle two years ago, the Olivier Leflaive chardonnay, Bourgogne Les Setilles (2016), was served to wedding guests.

Grapes ready to make chardonnay © Leflaive Winery; Medieval village in Burgundy © Leflaive Winery; Winemaker Olivier Leflaive © Leflaive Winery

“Prince Harry’s beautiful bride Meghan chose our wine. It wasn’t very expensive, but it had finesse and elegance which made it a very good choice”, recalls Olivier, “And once the British public heard of Meghan’s wine choice that vintage of our wine was a sell-out. I have only a few bottles left in my private cellar.”

Village Life Our drive around Puligny-Montrachet, where Olivier and his family live, is brief - we leave the village square, drive along narrow cobbled streets with houses dating back to medieval days and soon reach the vine-covered hills that surround it. A small hotel that faces the village square was once a monastery, circa the 17th century, and when the monks left it 25 years ago Olivier bought it to renovate for well-heeled visitors. The hotel’s


restaurant offers classic French food such as beef bourguignon, as well as a 9-course degustation menu using local produce, served with highly rated Burgundy wines. “I’m the 18th generation of the family making wine here,” says Olivier. “The first generation started out as barrel makers before planting vines in 1610. But in the 1920s those vines were destroyed by phylloxera disease and replanted. Because of the high water table here we do not have underground cellars, but when air conditioning arrived there was nothing to stop the success of our wines.”

Inspecting the Vines Puligny-Montrachet vineyards are tiny stony plots, some producing only two barrels a vintage, others 10 barrels, and some 100 barrels.

“Altogether I have plots producing 82 different wine styles, depending on whether the vines grow on the flat or on a hillside. The terroir here is so varied that the Grand Cru and First Cru wines have great complexity. “The roots of the vines show real intelligence, with those planted on the hills digging 20, 40, maybe 60 meters deep to find water, and along the way those roots pass through very different terroir, mainly limestone and clay, which adds to the complexity of the grapes.”

A Golden Age Olivier is now in his 70s and like the already departed Maurice Chevalier agrees that “Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.” Besides, Olivier loves life, “I’m so happy here and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. My only stress is the weather and if it will harm my grapes.” Footnote One-third of Olivier Leflaive wines are exported to England, the US, and Japan, with 52 other countries also importing the wines. Visit


Where: UNESCO-listed Beaune is a two-hour train ride south of Paris in the heart of the Burgundy wine region which grows red and white varietals. The vineyards of Pommard, Meursault, Santenay, and Savigny-Les-Beaune are all found along Burgundy’s Route des Grands Crus. Puligny-Montrachet: This small medieval village is a 15minute taxi ride from Beaune. Where to Stay: Beaune’s old town is walled, with small hotels and bed and breakfasts. La Maison des Courtines, an 18th-century mansion, is close to the old city ramparts and within walking distance for sightseeing, bistros, and Beaune’s maze of underground cellars. Local taxis take visitors to historic villages nearby. Don’t miss: Hospices de Beaune, a former almshouse dating back to 1443, is now a museum with a photogenic polychrome tiled roof. Its annual charity wine auction attracts bidders from around the world. Mustard tour: Vast fields of mustard grow around Beaune, and a tour of the town’s Fallot mustard factory reveals all manner of mustard flavors. For more information, check out Stone arch marking five Grand Cru vineyards © Leflaive Winery; Harvest time in Burgundy © Leflaive Winery; Leflaive signature © Leflaive Winery; Cavernous wine cellars under Beaune © Beaune Tourism; Olivier Leflaive hotel and restaurant © Leflaive Winery


Weltenburg Abbey~ Traveling The Danube to One of the World’s Oldest Monastic Breweries By Jane Simon Ammeson Bayern Donau Panorama Weg bei Kelheim, Kloster Weltenburg ©GermanyNationalTourismBoard


he monks of Weltenburg Abbey waited more than four centuries before they first began brewing ale— or at least ale worth noting—in 1050. Now vying for the title of the oldest monastic brewery in the world (Weihenstephan Abbey also claims the honor), they set their claim on maintaining the original brewing process. Like the beer, much is as it was at the Abbey. The somewhat plain exterior of the cathedral opens onto an elaborately ornate and gilded interior. Monks still hold services regularly, and they still live and work on the premises. And just as abbeys were places for gatherings for a millennium a n d m o r e , We l te n b u r g a l s o remains a destination. Located 25 miles west of the charming Bavarian city of Regensburg, a UNESCO World Heritage City, and just three miles from Kelheim, it is accessible by car. But I totally like immersing myself in history and my goal today is to replicate—as much as I can—the 1050 experience.


The Danube Narrows On the ferry from Kelheim, I watch as the boat’s wake cuts through waters reflecting the dark greens of dense woods and whites of limestone rocks of the Fränkische Alb mountains, some rising 300-feet high. Winds, water and time have carved caves and nooks in the limestone and in one of these crannies on an expansive stretch of stone called the Long Wall someone has tucked a statue of St. Nepomuk, the patron saint of water and bridges who was drowned when he refused to reveal the confessions made to him by the Queen of Bavaria. Her husband must have really wanted to know what she was up to. Today it will take 40 minutes to travel the Danube Narrows, an ancient waterway to and from Weltenburg Abbey or if you want to be really German about it, Weltenburger Klosterbrauerei, a sprawling complex of Baroque stone buildings surrounded by the lush rural beauty of Southern Bavaria.

There are times when the river is a lively place with small boats passing by and bicyclists and hikers making their way along the riverbank. Then suddenly, navigating a bend, it’s all calm waters and quiet. I imagine this is how it was when pilgrims and tradesmen (and hopefully tradeswomen as well) came to the abbey to retreat from the world, rest or conduct business. It was a time when travel was mainly by water as roads barely existed and their trip would have taken much longer without our gas powered engines. But the sight they saw when making the final curve is much the same as today— Weltenburg’s blue tower roof and the washed pink walls.

Weltenburger Klosterbrauerei The abbey sits on a bend of the river and in front is a small sandy beach and shallow waters where people play. It’s hot today—a heat wa ve is mo ving across Europe—and I envy them as the water looks cool and refreshing. But history calls and instead I move up the walk leading from the dock to the entrance already

Architectural detail Welternburg Abbey Danube River; Weltenburg Abbey on the Danube Bavaria;

awed by the size and beauty of the place. There are always hard choices and today I need to decide whether to tour first (there are self-guided and guided tours available) or take a seat in the sun at the biergarten, It appears that most people have chosen the latter and rather than wait for a table or sit inside the restaurant, I enter the church.

St. Georg Church We’re talking seriously rococo inside, an overdrive of theatrical flourishes mixed with more Gothic elements. Paintings date back to the 1300s, a statue of t h e c h u r c h’s n a m e s a ke S t . George or St. Georg as its spelled here, sculpted in smooth, sleek marble, rides his horse most likely on his way to slay the dragon. The main room, its ceiling 65-feet high, has alcoves off to the sides, each one just as ornate. It’s hard to take in everything at once, the artistry, pageantry and craftsmanship are so amazing. Standing near a group tour, I hear phrases like


“e i g h t ionic columns, Weltenburg marble and gold fresco” and hurriedly write the words down as it helps sort out this wonderment of riches.

Bavarian Fare Back outside, I spot an empty table and grab it. Addicted to German fare (yes, really), I order pigs’ knuckle known as schweinshaxe, schnitzel and even though I’m in Bavarian and not t h e B l a c k Fo r e s t ( h e y, i t ’s nearby) the famous cake from that region. Of course, I need a glass of their Kloster Barock Dunkel—an almost black in color ale which is still made on site in a rock cave and then sent by pipeline to the monastery taps. Also available—to drink or take home, there is a gift store of course--are other brews and such medicinal spirits as their Weltenburg monastery bitters and liqueurs. And if you want to go ful l abbey, there’s their klosterkas and monaster y sausage both based on ancient Weltenburg recipes.

Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten that last schnitzel and definitely not the cake. To assuage my conscience, I climb the mountain path as it winds past the Stations of the Cross. It’s steep but the gaps in the woods offer commanding views of the valley, abbey and gorge below. I briefly contemplate spending the night at the St. Georg Guest House to be able to walk the abbey grounds late at night when all the visitors are gone but I don’t have a reservation. Next time for sure.

The Oldest Wheat Beer Brewery in Bavaria Returning to Kelheim isn’t exactly like entering the 21 st centur y. In the old town I wander the narrow streets snapping photos of perfectly m a i n t a i n e d Me d i e v a l - e r a buildings just a short walk from the docks and on the way to where I parked my car, I let my friends talk me into stopping at Weisses Bauhaus Kelheim. It’s a beautiful place, all wood, vaulted ceilings and archways leading

from room to room. Outside we sit in, yes another beer garden, this one next to a small stream, and order a round of their wheat beer. Really, I had to since they’ve been brewing beer here since 1607, making the Weisses Brauhaus the oldest wheat beer brewery in Bavaria. I’m not typically a beer lover but both the Kloster Barock Dunkel at the abbey and the TAP7 here, made from the original 1872 recipe, are robust and flavorful without bitterness or an overly hoppy taste. I’m driving so instead of more beer, I listen to the live music, enjoy the myriad of colorful blooms cascading from window boxes, baskets and containers and contemplate how I’ve spent the day moving through history and only now have reached the 17th century.

Photos (clockwise from top right): View from Danube Weltenburg Abbey Bavaria Germany; Limestone cave on the Danube between Weltenburg Abbey and Kelheim, Germany; Beer ©Stencil; Stations of the Cross Mountain Walk Weltenburg Abbey Danube River Bavaria; Bavaria’s 0ldest wheat brewery, Weisess Brauhaus, in Kelheim Danube River Germany


Six micro-Wineries to Watch in the Willamette Valley By Valerie Estelle Rogers


ometimes I play the timeless game of closing my eyes, only to open them and pretend I am in another country, staring out at rows and rows of vineyards sprawling over rolling hills for miles, or kilometers rather. I like to imagine I am seeing this view, feeling this light breeze, or smelling these sweet scents for the very first time. In my travels, I have been to Italy, France, and Spain wine regions, and every now and again when I play this game, I can almost convince myself I am staring out into those distances. My everyday Europe is my backyard, the Willamette Valley. 30 years I have been staring out at these hills, and for approximately 25 of those, I have been sipping Pinot Noir that comes from these vines. The Willamette Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area) is comprised of 150 miles stretching from Portland to Eugene and is thriving with 750 wineries. Approximately 500 of those are within a 25-mile radius of my hometown, McMinnville. Large volume producing and prominent wineries are certainly here, however, the midsize 5,000 case production venues make up the abundance. Anything below this size is aectionately called a boutique winery, my favorite, because one may end up tasting wines with the owner who is also the winemaker, and I find this experience to be really special. When a winemaker talks about her wine and takes guests into the barrel room to sample from her artwork, there is something exceptional that happens, you can taste dreams, inspiration, and love. Six wineries are making a big scene in the Willamette Valley, and people are noticing. All of the following labels produce under 700 cases of wine each year, which is smaller than the typical boutique winery. In contrast, Oregon’s largest producing winery, King Estate, sells over 400,000 cases each year. These labels are what some are calling micro-wineries. Small volumes do not mean low quality, it can mean the exact opposite, exceptionally crafted, carefully attended vines, full attention from harvest to bottling, and with the owner’s thumbprint on each step. All of these wineries are available by appointment, and I encourage you to set one on your next trip to the Willamette Valley.


Oliver Springs wine in their new cellar;

View of the valley from Keeler

Brandy and Ari Grey; Greywing Wines; SchoneTal Cellars; SchoneTal Cellars;

Greywing Cellars 100 cases

wines; he laughs when he tells me about the ‘struggle’ of past works trips to French wine regions.

13 years ago, when Ari and Brandy Grey had their first date, Ari didn’t like wine. How that has changed. With a journalism degree and a decade career under her belt, Brandy went back to school to complete a wine studies degree and began making wine. Brandy has a song of the harvest that keeps repeating itself for weeks until it becomes the signature song of the vintage. She has embraced this each year, how a song rises up and carries her through. This last season the song was Lorde Heron’s, The Night We Met. The label Greywing, found on their Pinot Noir, is inspired by family Native American history and embracing the Oregon motto, “She flies with her own wings.”

Pray Tell Wines 700 cases

Spectral Cellars 200 cases

SchöneTal Cellars 450 cases

In an ocean of Pinot Noir, Matthew and Candy Thompson are offering anything but. Currently, with three varietals, Riesling, Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Spectral Cellars strives to make wines that are underrepresented in the area. Uniquely, Matthew sources his Cabernet Franc grapes from the lessonknown Oregon side of Walla Walla, Washington. Matthew knows his wines, from picking fruit to the barrel and strives to offer premier small-batch offerings, not volume. Matthew has a deep and long standing relationship with wine and with French

SchöneTal means beautiful valley in German and this is precisely what Dave Ulbricht is capturing in his bottles. He makes distinctive Pinot Noir from two specific blocks, Hirshey and Meridith Mitchel vineyards. Meridith Mitchel vines have old rootstock dating back to their 1988 planting, making this regionally a rare and very special block of vines. From his love of assisting other wineries doing various cellar tasks, Dave knew he had a passion, and he wants others to experience what he experiences with wine, the subtle and gorgeous nuances of Pinot Noir.


Tom Caruso and Jess Arnold bonded over Gamay wine and have an extensive understanding of the industry from life in NY, Napa, Sonoma, and Oregon. Adding Sommelier degrees inspired them to make wine and pursue the curiosity of it all. Jumping from 120 cases in 2017 to 700 cases by 2019, their Gamay (of course), Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir gets attention. It is no coincidence that Tom ended up in Oregon, he tells a wonderful story of his childhood where he helped his grandfather make wine on the sidewalks of Philadelphia... on Oregon Street.

Spectral Cellars Wine ©Matthew Thompson;

Using the wine thief at SchoneTal

Oliver Springs Vineyard 225 cases Jim and Stephanie Houchins planted six rows of vines in their backyard in a suburb of Portland years ago because of their burgeoning wine passion. Today they own several acres and are nurturing three blocks of grapes and make Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. I stand in the unfinished wine cellar and tasting room, still needing doors, windows, and finishings, we raise our stemware together to the next chapter. With a goal of capping at 600 cases, Oliver Springs is the heart and soul of what the Oregon winemaker’s dream encapsulates; a winery named after a fresh spring running through the property and blocks of vines named after past pups that were loved deeply, Sasha and Keita.

Burner Wines 600 cases Lisa Burner is a biologist turned wine-maker. After going through a local wine certification program a decade ago, and mentorship under impressive labels such as Stoller, Dobbes, Adelshiem, and Shea, Burner Wines is making a huge splash with Carménère, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Noir. Carménère, considered the lost Bordeaux varietal, is her bestseller, followed by Pinot Blanc. I quietly swirl the Pinot Blanc and sip, it is creamy but not in color. Lisa explains how she tosses the leaves and juice while still in the barrel every two weeks. I continue to sip and tell her to keep doing what she is doing.


Greywing Cellars

SchöneTal Cellars

Ari and Brandy Grey 100 cases Pinot Noir By appointment

Dave Ulbricht 450 cases Pinot Noir, Rosé By appointment

Spectral Cellars Matthew and Candy Thompson 200 cases Riesling, Gamay, Cabernet Franc By appointment Available in Texas

Oliver Springs Vineyard Jim and Stephanie Houchins 225 cases Pinot Noir, Chardonnay By appointment

Pray Tell Wines Tom Caruso and Jess Arnold 700 cases Gamay Noir, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay By appointment Available in Chicago, East Coast locations, Washington

Burner Wines Lisa and Mike Burner 600 cases Carménère, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir By appointment Available in Wisconsin

Where Earth & Water Meet By Mary Rose Denton

Quince Tart Berlinerweisse


n the farmland of the Skagit Valley, about 90 minutes north of Seattle, lies the quirky town of Edison, Washington. In the hub of this small municipality you will find several art galleries, saloons, a Euro-style deli and a world class bakery. Don't blink or you might miss it along the one road through this rural area. An eclectic mix of artists, hippies, bikers, and farmers make up this town's congregation. If you wander down the road, at the end of it is Terramar Brewing, where earth and water meet.

Sitting stately on the banks of the Edison slough, Terramar brewstillery is as eclectic as this small town. The proprietor’s vision of combining a brewery, cidery, distillery and pizzeria is all under one roof. Hence their coined and appropriate title “Brewstillery.” Terramar is a unique local business who is doing it all, doing it very well, while sustaining a lighter footprint on the earth too. But it hasn't all been a smooth road leading to Terramar.

A Vision in the Making Perhaps the seed was planted when Chris Barker, who is owner and distiller with his wife Jen, won a high school science fair for his homemade still. "When you are a super nerd like I am, it's really hard to make friends,” laughs Chris. His 30-gallon packed column reflux still went on to win him the prize and a lot of friends, but that was just the beginning.

The Barkers wanted to open their brewery for a long time. And like many lofty goals or projects life can sometimes get in the way. Not everything is a straight and easy path but eventually this road led to one place. "We had a couple of missteps, or as I like to call them, learning experiences the hard way,” Chis shares. In 2017, the Barkers found and purchased the property which would eventually become Terramar. Over the next year the Barkers worked diligently to bring their vision to life, using the structure of an old slaughterhouse from many decades ago. Where once was the fearful call of cattle, now laughter is heard over a pint mixed with the dull hum of conversation.


All photos courtesy of Terramar

Due to zoning restrictions, they had to work within the footprint of the buildings. However, the Barkers did not deter from their plans, instead incorporating existing fixtures and upcycling materials. Their remodel shaped Terramar into the comfortable community gathering spot it is today. One which mirrors the quirky nature in which it sits while paying homage to its earlier incarnations. Recycling materials to be broken down, reused, and recreated is a theme throughout Terramar's business model.

Sustainability and Staying Local "Sustainability has been very important for us from the beginning," Chris says "every decision made has that in mind.” Terramar resides on 5.5 acres of farmland providing beautiful scenery and stunning sunsets while also allowing for a large garden area where many of the botanicals such as juniper and spruce will be used to make spirits like vodka and gin. But gardening isn’t their only sustainable practice. For starters, they recycle the brewery process water for irrigation, keeping the property green all year.

They also source most everything locally. From Skagit Valley malt for brewing to local farms for produce, from the grains of Cairn Spring Mill used in the pizza dough to the toppings from producers like Samish Bay and Gothberg Cheeses, all are sourced from local farmers within a 10-mile radius.

"If we can do our part by supporting local farmers and producers here in the valley while helping maintain its agricultural roots then we have done our job,” Chris says. Taking it one step further they utilize what the growers have in season, meaning their menu of food and spirits is everchanging with the cycles of nature. “We don't have any flagship brands and let whatever is fresh and available tell us what to make,” Chris explains. The support from the community farmers is growing too. Some are even planning next year’s crops specifically for Terramar’s kitchen. Their reputation for locally resourced fare has also caught the eye of regional foragers who bring in their bounty of the day. "We will have folks show up with locally grown kiwis and chanterelle mushrooms; all are

Photos (left to right) Brussel Sprouts from Well-Fed Farms; All Blues salad mix featuring a blueberry-quince vinaigrette; Beer Flight of so many choices; Bow Hill Blueberry collaboration cider, Bow Hillmian Rhapsody; Dog friendly


incorporated into products we create here," Chris shares. True to form, the kiwis became part of one of Terramar's cider creations, and the mushrooms got pickled for an appetizer.

A Brewery, Winery, and Distillery. Oh my!

the seats to play cribbage on game night or listen to area musicians. “Our hope is that when folks come to Terramar they have a place where people can have a conversation, get to know each other, and make new friends,” describes Chris. This includes canine friends as well for Terramar is a dog friendly pub. The one thing you will not find inside these walls is a TV.

When asked how they decided to combine a brewery, winery and distillery into one, Chris replied, "They are all interlinked with each other and a natural extension from one process to the other." In keeping with their repurposing principles, they make beer and then use the wash from the brewery to make grain-based spirits like whiskey, vodka, and gin in the distillery. Their fruit-based liquor like brandy, calvados, and cognac will have their inception from the wash produced by making hard cider. In 2020, the plan is to distill barrel-aged spirits such as single-malt American whiskey using local resources as well as flora from their own gardens.

Terramar may be a portmanteau (meaning earth and sea), but for the Barkers, it has synthesized so much more. Chris says "this single word captures the essence of our environment and the resources that go into our products. Each product we make derives its flavors from the land and sea that surrounds us.”

An oasis at the end of a road, in which community comes together to get to know each other, the old fashion way, while drinking an Old Fashion cocktail. What can be better than that?

Harkening back to perhaps a simpler time, Terramar has become a central gathering place for community members and visitors alike. A family friendly taproom and dining room comes alive as groups fill

Photos (left to right) Head brewer, Greg Spore working the mash; Cribbage Night with pizza and libations; Amber Waves of Grain IPA; On the lighter side—Vidal Saison


A The sundowner tradition is an essential part of the modern safari experience…


s the sun set over the African savanna, the tropical grassland began to change color. A rainbow of warm hues—ombré shades of red, pink and orange—start to settle in. The breeze slowly moved across the landscape in gentle waves. Reflecting on my first day of the safari, I started to realize just what a remarkable experience had begun.

Incredibly, there was more to come. Akiba, my guide, pulled the range rover into a scenic escarpment and introduced this safari virgin to the sundowner tradition. The African sundowner tradition originated during the period of British colonial rule. The drinking ritual marked the transition from day into evening. As a time for reflecting on the day, the drink of choice was a gin and tonic. You might be surprised to learn that the selection of these gin and tonics had a very practical, medicinal beginning.

History of Tonic Water and the Classic Gin & Tonic The Pulitzer Prize winning Guns, Germs and Steel documents the evolution of modern society. Anthropologist Jared Diamond wrote the book and examined why some societies evolved differently and more quickly than others. Guns and steel were rather self-explanatory. The germs piece of the puzzle was where the sundowner tradition has its early beginnings. Malaria was especially a player. As European empires began to expand and the tropics were colonized, this mosquito-borne disease killed thousands of civilians and soldiers.

The Sundowner~ An African Safari Tradition By Alison Abbott During the 17 th centur y, the Spanish Jesuits d i s co v e r e d t h a t i n d i g e n o u s Pe r u v i a n s we r e successfully using the bark of the cinchona tree as a treatment for certain fevers. Malaria was one of those illnesses. The bark was ground into a powder and eventually became a prophylactic as well. The active ingredient—quinine powder—became a formidable new weapon during European expansion. Quinine powder was an effective preventative for the British as they made their move expanding through India and later, Africa. The powder was quite literally, a bitter pill to swallow. When mixed with water, sugar and lime the drink became more palatable. Eventually gin was introduced to mask the flavor further, and the classic gin and tonic was born. Schweppes was created in 1870 and marketed to people overseas in warm climates who had to take their daily dose of quinine. Sundown became the time of choice with the addition of gin to the mix. From its humble beginnings as a survival drink in the tropics to its popularity with the country club set, the classic gin and tonic seems to have nine lives and


African sunset, Elsa's Kopje activities

enjoys a frequent renaissance in the world of cocktail culture. Currently, chic tonic waters are the favorite darlings of mixologists. The well-named brand of Fever-Tree is a favorite that immediately come to mind. Artisanal gins where its botanicals dance on the tongue can be found on liquor shelves around the world.

Experiencing the Sundowner Tradition in Kenya The sundowner tradition is an essential part of the modern safari experience, though the therapeutic piece of the formula has long since passed. Luxury safari camps such as The Elewana Collection have raised the bar to new heights. I had the good fortune to toast the end of the day in the wild in several of their eco-luxe camps. Guests select their drink of choice along with snacks, and all were packed for the event.

Elsa’s Kopje I arrived from Nairobi after a one-hour flight on a small 12-seater prop plane. As we descended onto the dirt runway in Meru, giraffes could be seen off in the distance. Their motion was unique, necks moving forward and back as they ran to keep their long

bodies balanced. Even though they appeared to be moving in slow motion, giraffes can actually reach a speed of 35 miles per hour. It was a good omen to see such a site before the wheels even hit the ground. Jet lag from two days of travel immediately disappeared. My first stop was Elsa’s Kopje, part of The Elewana Collection of luxury safari camps and former home to Elsa of Born Free fame. Located in Meru National Park, George Adamson put this conservation spot on the map long before eco-tourism was in vogue. After getting settled in the most sumptuous treehouse you could ever imagine, I refreshed in the open-air rain shower overlooking the vast savanna. It was then that I began to get a sense of the magic that might lie ahead. Before I left for Africa, a friend told me, “Always say yes,” and those words thankfully made their way to my lips on that first afternoon when my guide introduced himself and asked if I was ready for my initial game drive. Hours of bumpy trails later, my mind’s eye was full of closeups with giraffes, lions and rhinos. My head was spinning from the close-up intensity of all the wildlife around me. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, Akiba pulled onto a flat area of red African soil. Hopping out of the vehicle, he set up table, snacks, and cocktails in minutes for a toast to the sun setting over the horizon. After my very first sundowner, I felt the day would be hard to surpass.

Lewa Safari Camp Camp Number 2 was not about to take a backseat when it came to the day’s experiences. Lewa Conservancy covers 65,000 acres of wilderness and is famous for the successful conservation and breeding of


endangered rhinos and Grevy zebras. With the snowcapped shadow of Mt. Kenya in the background, it is a breathtaking setting for Lewa Safari Camp. As the only property inside the Conservancy, Lewa provides unprecedented access to the wildlife. The camp also delivered the perfect backdrop for Prince William’s proposal to Kate Middleton. Friendly competition existed amongst the guides for providing the best guest experience. This was one match where the guest is the biggest winner! As the sun began to set, we tracked a pride of lions making their way across the grassland. I watched them spread out and from their stealthy prowl, it was obvious they were hunting. In the distance a giraffe was eating acacia leaves from the treetops, and I prayed this was not turning into a National Geographic kill. Suddenly the pride was moving rapidly, and I held my breath. The giraffe started running in what was now a familiar gait, and one of the lions stopped short and jumped high into an acacia tree. Seconds later she dropped with what turned out to be an antelope in her jaws. My heart was having one of those moments when you can hear the beat thundering through your inner ears. George, our naturalist guide, explained that two leopards had brought their kill into the tree for

Photos (from left): Elewana Collection rhinos; Elsa’s Kopje activities ©Silverless; Lewa Safari Camp—Sundowners ©Frederic Courbet; Loisaba Tented Camp activities—Sundowners ©Silverless; Lewa Safari Camp Sundowners; Elewana lions and writer Alison Abbott

protection. The lion had caught the scent and helped herself to easy meal. The two leopards now sat high atop the tree, safe from the lions who could easily have brought down the smaller cats had they been within reach. Letting others do all of the hard work, the lion had sent out a reminder— there’s a good reason they’re called King of the Jungle. After the experience, we drank our sundowners in silence, each marveling internally at what we had just witnessed. It was quite different from other days emotionally, and remarkable in a new way.

Loisaba and The Evening Stars As I arrived at my last stop in Kenya, my checklist had only been missing a hippo. Lomello, my third guide, was on a mission to deliver. After a magnificent day of elephant encounters and a visit to an indigenous Meru village, I looked forward to sleeping in my Loisaba Starbed, an exquisite mosquito netted fantasy constructed with a frame of tree branches and open to the night sky. Lomello was having none of my “early to bed dream,” and out hippo hunting we went. This time, the sundowner was a pre night-safari. Not to be


outdone, the missing hippos along with various snakes, rabbits and other night creatures were sighted on the after-dark game drive. The excellent guides from my trips all had a sixth sense about animal locations and an as-you-wish kind of successful delivery. They were so generous and proud to share their insider knowledge. As you can imagine, my evening of becoming one with the stars was even more sweet. Today, sundowners no longer represent the practical, yet remain an integral part of the safari experience. As a fundamental piece to the cadence of the day, the very civilized transition from day into evening presents a time to slow down and process, relax and enjoy the scenery. Sundowners transport you into an Out of Africa movie set; the perfect setting to be mindful and in the moment. While the classic original might have gone through many incarnations over its storied past, the traditional sundowner experience is one that is sure to survive right alongside the ever-changing African safari scene.

Fabulous Food on the Island of Hawai’i

By Joeann Fossland

n the island of Hawai’i, a fantastic mashup of three unique elements creates a tasty and memorable cuisine. The island’s amazing diversity and rich multi-cultural history melds with the native foods of the islands to yield distinctive dishes. Paired with creative chefs working with the bounties from the island’s ranches, organic farms and the sea, the food of Hawai’i is a delicious melange of tastes.


Multi-cultural History Hawai’i is one of the most culturally diverse places in the world. Over the last 200 years, dating back to 1778 when Captain Cook arrived, the number of native Hawai’ians has decreased as immigrants from Asia, Europe, and Polynesia poured in. These days, no race has a majority. Almost 25% of Hawaiians have two or more races in their background. According to the last census, Hawai’i’s population is 38.6% Asian, 24.7% White, and only 10% is Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders. Hispanic, Black or African American, and American Indian and Alaska Native account for the rest. Each culture has played a part in today’s diversity.

Fresh and Local

As you would expect, since the island is surrounded by the sea, sumptuous seafood is a given. The fish you have for dinner was likely caught this morning. I love

Coconut Shrimp; Sticky Ribs at Fish and The Pig; Mahi MahiTacos


the Ono and Mahi Mahi is a close second. Most likely, there will be fish on the menu you have never heard of. Treat yourself to some sushi, sashimi, and Hawai’ian poke. Fish isn’t the only staple. Hawai’i’s has rich volcanic soil is that can’t be duplicated elsewhere. Local farms can grow beautiful, abundant produce year-round because of the climate. And then there’s the beef! It all began in 1788 when a British Captain, George Vancouver presented five cows to King Kamehameha I. Those cows multiplied and roamed free for years until a Massachusetts sailor, John Parker, was granted rights to shoot them and sell their hides. In 1850, he bought 640 acres of land and established the famous Parker Ranch. Today, these same ranch lands today provide grass-fed cattle to the island’s restaurants. And, that’s not all! Tasty local lamb and pork have a place on the menus as well. The tender, smoked Kalua Pig is a delicacy. The word kalua, which literally means "to cook in an underground oven” and is a traditional Hawaiian cooking method that utilizes an imu, a type of underground oven.

The Chefs of the Island of Hawai’i In 1991, twelve Hawai’ian chefs, led by Peter Merriman, collaborated to create Hawai’i Regional Cuisine with a commitment to support local farmers, ranchers and the local economy while offering fresh, authentic cuisine at its peak flavor. It’s been a huge success and is still evolving today.

Enjoy the Best of Hawai’i Restaurants From fancy to food trucks, you can pick your level of formality and cost and enjoy fabulous food. Hawai’i is relaxed and even elegant dining only requires resort wear. If I’ve made you hungry, here are some of my favorites on the Big Island.

Annie's Bacon Burger; Lamb Riblets at Merriman's in Waimea; Hawaii Big Island Aloha Mix (food truck); Merriman's Fresh Island Fish


Fancy Favorites Merriman’s Fine dining for lunch and dinner. Hawaii Regional Cuisine. Be adventurous and expect to be delighted. 65-1227 Opelo Road, Kamuela

salads with lots of local organic produce or wildcaught Hawaiian fish delight. Try the Goat Cheese Poppers. 79-7460 Mamalahoa Highway #105, Kealakekua (south of Kona)

Manta Restaurant at Mauna Kea Beach Resort Fine dining for dinner with an ocean view, Manta offers a blend of contemporary and traditional Pacific Rim. 62-100 Mauna Kea Beach Drive, Kohala Coast

Aloha Mix Food Truck Healthy island cuisine includes Acai and Pitaya Bowls. My favorite, though, is the shrimp and steak plate. Outdoor picnic tables. 95-5649 C, Mamalahoa Highway, Naalehu

Hilo Bay Cafe Dine all day on creative Pacific Rim Cuisine made with fresh island ingredients. The cafe overlooks Hilo Bay, and the tables on the deck are especially nice. 123 Lihiwai Street, Hilo

To Complement the Food

Yummy Casual Eating

Hawai’i rum is a natural with the rich history of sugarcane. Kuleana Farms grows 40 varieties of sugar cane on 44 acres. The Big Island’s first distillery produces super-premium rum that’s available at their Rum Shack in Waikoloa or in California and Hawai’i locations.

Fish and The Hog Enjoy fish, BBQ, Burgers and more in a relaxed setting. The sticky ribs are falloff-the-bone tender and tangy. 64-957 Mamalahoa Highway, Waimea The Village Burger While the ground brisket and chuck Big Island Burger, described as beefy, robust and arrogant, is one of the best burgers I’ve ever had, there’s more. How about a Lamb Burger with braised onions and kalamata olive tapenade? Or, maybe try a veal or fish burger. Parker Ranch Shopping Center, Waimea Annie’s Fresh Island Burgers Relax on the open air lanai and savor the fresh food. Burgers are the draw with grass-fed island-raised beef. Alternatively,

That iconic drink, the Mai Tai, was invented here. No trip is complete without one. All of my picks above, except The Village Burger and the Aloha Mix Food Truck, serve cocktails, wine and beer.

To pair with the great foods, you’ll also find a great selection of Hawai’ian Wines. The Big Island Volcano Winery is open very day for tastings. So, if you thought Hawai’ian food was all about pineapples and papayas, you are in for something different and delightful. Aloha rules!

Perfect Mai Tai;

Shrimp and Crab at Manta, Mauna Kea


Crab Cakes Mauna Lani; Ono and Shrimp;

Chef Peter Merriman (below)

Q and A with Chef Peter Merriman What makes the Hawai'i Regional Cuisine so special?

The Hawaii Regional Cuisine started back in the late 80s with a few of chefs, myself included who wanted to do something different with the food that was being served to tourists. Back then my approach, and my approach now, was to serve locally sourced ingredients and HRC is my interpretation of local food. What ingredients are unique and wouldn't be found elsewhere? At Merriman’s, 90% of our ingredients are locally sourced and most of what is on the menu comes from local Hawaiian ranchers, producers, and farmers on all of the Islands. We have longstanding relationships with our producers and we work hard with them to grow the best produce. To name a few, we currently work with Malama Farms on Maui, Hirabara Farms, and Rincon Farms on the Big Island. It’s not uncommon for our farmers to produce several ingredients for us and for all of our locations. For example, Hirabara Farms’ organic beets can be found in our salads at Merriman’s Honolulu, our signature cavatelli pasta at Merriman’s Kapalua, the Kauai shrimp bisque at Merriman’s Fish House, and the keahole lobster salad at Merriman’s Waimea. What are the "not to be missed" items at Merriman's? Not to be missed items include the signature Merriman’s ahi wok charred with won bok cabbage slaw and the kalua pig and sweet onion quesadilla with house-made kim chee and mango sauce. We just launched the lu’au platter, available at Merriman’s Honolulu, in celebration of Merriman’s Honolulu’s first anniversary. This mouth-watering platter includes taro rolls, sun dried pineapple, lomi lomi tomato, spicy ahi poke, opakapaka & lobster lau lau, roast suckling pig, and a bag of poi fritters. For cocktails, guests can’t not have our signature Merriman’s Mai Tai, which was ranked one of the best mai tais by Hawaii Magazine. You have received many awards. What do you feel is your differentiation? The awards we’ve won are a reflection of the local community and Merriman’s team working together. Merriman’s Hawaii would not be what it is today without the support of the local community and local producers.


What excites you these days? Working with a team that continues to advocate for utilizing the local community and growing together to ensure that guests leave Merriman’s with full, satisfied stomachs but wanting to come back for more!

Unicum~ The Hungarian National Drink with Its Own Museum


nicum—according to, it is “a unique example or a specimen of something.” In the electronic gaming world, it is someone who can read

the flow of the battle and change it with their skill to damage, kill or take charge. But in the “spirit” world, it is Hungary’s national drink. You’ll know it when you see it, by the signature round black bottle branded with a gold cross on a red circular label wherever in Hungar y alcoholic beverages are available. Concocted over 225 years ago by a royal physician named Zwack in the Habsburg Imperial Court in an effort to find a remedy for symptoms of indigestion that the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II complained of, the drink is a dark, s o m e w h a t b i t te r h e r b a l e l i x i r t h a t ultimately evolved into a popular liqueur. The Emperor apparently approved, and his reaction – “Dr. Zwack, das ist ein Unikum!” – gave the tonic its name. The recipe remains mostly secret to this day, only known to a few Zwack descendants.

An Acquired Taste In reality, most first-timers trying the drink are not convinced they would try it again. Normally served in shot glasses as an aperitif or digestif suggesting a hint of eucalyptus and a taste of licorice, it is an acquired taste, and it is so much a part of being a Hungarian, that it grows on anyone spending time in Budapest or hanging out with Hungarian companions. If you are willing to order a shot or two, your Hungarian friends will love you for it, and it will get better over time to the point that in any future visits to Hungary, you will arrive craving another taste. A variety of Unicum bottles

All photos ©Zwack Unicum


The producer, Zwack, understood that not everyone who visits Hungary is up for the heavy flavor of the original Unicum, so they developed a few varieties. One is Unicum Next, a lighter, fresher, more citrusy flavor that appeals to young people, and Unicum Silva, which based on the Hungarian tradition of soaking fruits in alcohol, is aged in barrels over a base of dried plums—aka prunes—which adds a somewhat sweet balance the bitterness of the original.

Zwack museum(L); Old distiller display in museum

The Zwack Museum: A Vision and a Taste The uniqueness and popularity of the drink is such an important part of Hungarian tradition, it has been declared a designated Hungarikum—an item that distinctly and typically represents Hungarian culture and uniqueness--and it serves as the basis of the Zwack Muzeum, housed on the grounds of the old distillery on Budapest’s Pest-side shore in District IX near the Petőfi bridge. An easy ride on trams 4 and 6, or on tram 2, which will bring you to Boráros tér, a short walk away from the building. Visitors to the museum, in addition to a tasting fresh barrel draughts of various Unicum drinks at the end of the tour, are introduced to the company’s history with a 20-minute video and talk, which tells the history of the Zwack family’s entrepreneurial efforts to produce and sell Unicum along with more than 200 liqueurs and spirits. Threats to the company that came with the Great Depression, World War II and Communism show the pluck of the Zwack brothers Béla and János, who, when forced by the Communists to turn the company over to the state, created a fake recipe to be used, and kept the true recipe hidden until, in 1989 they bought back the company and were able to once again produce the original version. An audio-guided tour of the facility showcases historic relics such as a collection of 17,000 mini bottles, a Swedish passport issued for Peter Zwack by Raoul Wallenberg during World War II, a historic ledger, posters and shiny copper stills. After the self-guided tour (available in six languages), a professional guide will lead visitors on a walk through the hundreds of oak barrels in the winding corridors of the cellar.

More Zwack to Love A second Zwack Muzeum is located about an hour and 15 minutes south of Budapest in Kecskemét, a city famous in Hungary for its palinka or fruit brandies in tall, long-necked bottles. This is where the Zwack family first made Fütyülős (whistling) Palinka, a brandy that, in 1936, Edward, Prince of Wales, tasted and loved so much he became a lifelong fan—adding it to sparkling water or tea. Similar to the Budapest museum, the Kecskemét location offers a video showing the traditional process of making palinka and a tour of the distillery, ending with a professional tasting by a palinka master.


Barrels in Zwack cellars (L); Unicum display

in museum shop

Much More Than Meets The Eye Connecting Materials and Idea Through the Artistic Lens of Vik Muniz in Partnership with Ruinart By Lisa Morales


he sun has gone down on Art Basel Miami Beach and the glitter of a glamorous week has been swept away. However, the memory of a partnership between art and fine wine still lingers. At a sunset fête on a warm December evening at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, B r a z i l i a n a r t i s t Vi k Mu n i z unveiled his photographic series titled, Shared Roots. Vik Muniz x Ruinart Champagne Leaf limitededition prints were on sale during the course of the art fair and 100 percent of the proceeds benefited Imazon, a Brazilian non-profit organization dedicated to Amazon rainforest conservation. Guests sipped on Ruinart Blanc de Blancs and Rosé (the first ever Rosé champagne,) while enjoying artfully designed and Brazilian-

inspired bites by two James Beard Award-winning chefs, Chef Daniel Boulud and Chef Michael Schwartz. What do art and wine have in c o m m o n ? Fo r Mu n i z a n d Ruinar t, the synergy is the relationship between nature and man. Vik Muniz (Vicente José de Oliveira Muniz) was born to a working class family in São Paulo, Brazil in 1961. As a young child, his grandmother (a self-taught reader) would read to him from an Encyclopedia Britannica that his father had won in a pool match. It was the only book they owned. Although by seven years o l d h e c o u l d r e a d , Mu n i z str ug gled with dyslexia and de veloped his own form of communication through sketches t h a t h e s a i d w e r e l i ke hieroglyphics.

Muniz’ formal training began during high school, after receiving a partial scholarship to study sculpture and drawing at an a r t s a c a d e m y. He w o u l d eventually major in, and work briefly in the field of advertising. With a desire to go to the U.S. and learn English, but no means to afford it, Muniz had a nearfatal incident that changed his circumstances. One day while l e a v i n g a p a r t y, Mu n i z intercepted a fight and was accidentally shot in the leg. In order not to press charges, the shooter offered him money which he would use to buy a flight to Chica go. There he worked for about six months until moving to New York to study theater direction and set design, but eventually switched full time to art.

Vik Muniz at the Ruinart Sunset Soiree during Art Basel Miami 2019; Vik Muniz at work in his studio during his Ruinart art residency

©Ruinart; Flow Hands from Vik Muniz Ruinart Series ©Ruinart


Vik Muniz & Frédéric Panaïotis, cellar master at Ruinart © Ruinart; The Chardonnay Leaf by Vik Muniz for Ruinart © Ruinart; Vik Muniz Chardonnay leaf prior to being photographed. ©Ruinart; Chef Daniel Boulud prepares Brazilian inspired bites. ©Tasos Katapodis of Getty Images for Ruinart; Chef Michael Schwartz prepares artful and Brazilian inspired small plates for Ruinart VIP guests.

Bird’s Eye View: The Artistic Process Although beginning his artistic career as a sculptor, Muniz w o r ke d primarily with photography first creating a w o r k t h a t a c t s l i ke a photographic “negative” using unconventional materials such as chocolate syrup, peanut butter, dust, garbage, and sugar to create a large scale representation of an object and then photographing it from high above. His Chardonnay Leaf artwork was composed of fresh chardonnay leaves, shoots and bunches collected directly from the Sillery vineyards, resulting in an ampelographic representation of the Chardonnay plant. He completely destroyed all of the six large scale works once photographing them. The process can be viewed here.

Tradition and Innovation For Ruinart (located in Reims) respect for the land and the vineyards and responsible energy consumption are the hallmark of their commitment. The champa gne house calls Chardonnay its soul, and this grape, mainly harvested from the Côte des Blancs and Montagne de Reims terroirs, is at the heart of all of their cuvées.

Champane Ruinart Blanc de Blancs is served to Art Basel Miami VIP Guests © Tasos Katapodis of Getty Images for Ruinart; Champagne Ruinart is Served at Art Basel Miami Sunset Fete © Tasos Katapodis of Getty Images for Ruinart


Ruinart has worked with artists in different ways since 1896 and presently, for each year leading up to its 300th anniversary in September 2029, an artist residency opportunity will be offered to some of the world’s fi n e s t a r t i s t s w h o a r e commissioned to create a unique work of art that pays tribute to Ruinart.

A Perfect Pairing During the 2018 harvest, Muniz spent many hours in Sillery, a long-standing vineyard belonging to Maison Ruinart. He worked alongside Frédéric Panaïotis, Cellar Master at Ruinart. Muniz perfectly conveys the partnership of nature and man in a photograph of the hands and forearm of Frédéric Panaïotis holding a piece of a vine. The veins on Panaïotis’ forearm mimic the vine, creating a poetic visual of ‘shared roots’ still flowing with movement as if together they are bound as one living organism. Watch more here. Similarl y, vinification is an extensive process that metamorphosizes into unique presentations of a different art form. “It’s an accumulation of knowledge, loads of information we try to anticipate. Only when

you have a glass in hand and t a s t e i t , c a n y o u m a ke a decision,” says Panaïotis. In an interview with Wallpaper, Muniz explains that Shared Roots explores the human and nature relationship between the winegrowers and vineyards, as well as the terroir. “These are all connected. Everything comes from the ground, and everything co m e s f r o m t h e s o i l , ” s a y s Muniz. To Mu n i z , “a r t i s t h e development of the interface between mind and matter.” He elaborates, “between material (close) and idea (distant) none of these polarities are important. Important is when you cross the threshold and the seemingly meaningless materials become an idea.” He r e i s w h e r e a r t i s b o r n whether it be on a canvas or in your glass. We are connected to the earth and each other and it is our responsibility to perceive it with both pleasure and responsibility. Ensuring the future of any art form means looking far beyond what meets our eye.

Picture Yourself Here… Photo Essay—Japan ©Kurt Jacobson

Photos left (top to bottom): Fall colors at Yoshiminedera Temple; Hiking the trail to Kyoto's Yoshimedera Temple; Tokyo at night. Photos right: Cluster of bright red maple leaves in Arima; Taking a stroll at Shosei en Garden in Kyoto; Kusatsu street lantern


Photos (clockwise): Sesame seed pounder showing the old way; Kusatsu ryokan dinner, course # 4; Kyoto Sakura Terrace’s European style salad; Sakura Terrace duck; Yakatori Kusatsu yakatori street vendor


Italian Cuisine— Five Myths You Need to Stop Believing

For the


of Pasta By Christine Cutler

ecause I’m Italian, most of my friends a s s u m e I w a n t t o g o t o It a l i a n restaurants when we go out for lunch or dinner. Truth be told, I don’t. Most Italian restaurants in the US cook an Americanized version of Italian food, and few Italians would recognize the over-sized, over-cooked, over-spiced, over-sauced plates served in American restaurants.


Still, Ameritalian food is popular in the States. More than 85 percent of Americans list Italian cuisine as their favorite, and they consume an average of 26 pounds of pasta per capita annually. (That’s bush league when you consider that Italians average between 50 and 60 pounds per person per year.) What most Americans do not realize is that there is no real Italian cuisine. If you are still reading this, you might be thinking, What does she mean there is no real Italian cuisine? What about spaghetti and meatballs? Nope. Garlic bread? Sorry.. Fettuccine Alfredo? No way. Spaghetti bolognese? Heaven’s no. PEPPERONI PIZZA? I hate to burst your bubble, but no.

A Little History What it comes down to is that some Americans, even some of Italian descent, don’t understand how the history of the country—and later the role of immigrants—affected the evolution of Italian cuisine. I don’t want to bore you, but consider that until 1871, the Italian peninsula was a conglomeration of independent city states, and


Photos (top to bottom): Paccheri with eggplant, zucchini, & tomato; Rigatoni caccio e pepe; Fresh Pasta alla chitarra; Fresh tortellini

invaders of the various areas on the peninsula influenced the cuisine of the particular area they occupied. The food the Italians residing in Italy’s 20 regions (states, for lack of a better word) cook today is still a result of those ancient influences. Ad d i n t h e f a c t t h a t w h e n It a l i a n immigrants came to America, they shared cooking with paesani from other regions, and in this country—and others—the lines started to blur. Italians visiting an Italian restaurant in America or any other country would have a hard time equating what is on the menu with the food they cook and eat at home.

The Macaroni, the Myth, the Legend In the end, pasta unifies the cuisine from one region to another in Italy because the ancient invaders, be they Arab or Greek, Turkish or Spanish, Etruscan or Syrian, ate some form of the mixture of flour and water (or eggs). Historical records show that Chinese were making strings from flour and water from 1100 BC and that the Arabs brought them to Sicily in the 12th century, long before Marco Polo—the man wrongly credited to have brought the noodles to Italy—was even born.


There are more than 600 pasta shapes.


Photos (top to bottom): Spaghetti with fresh tomato and peppers; Tagliatelle Carbonara; Spaghetti with cheese and vegetables; Elicoidali with pomodoro with fresh mozzarella; Passatelli; Ravioli con burro e salvia; Ravioli swimming in sauce at Italian restaurant in the US

My grandparents were from the Abruzzo region of Italy, so it follows that the food I ate growing up was Abruzzese. We had a lot of vegetables, fruits, and pasta, and the meat we had with pasta was usually pork or a mix of pork and beef. My mother and grandmother taught me to marry eggs and flour to make the magical “past’” and to combine mashed potatoes with the flour to make “cavatell’” (roughly, our region’s version of gnocchi). I didn't have a lasagna or carbonara until I was an adult because they were not Abruzzese dishes. Chef Luca Gio vanni Pappalardo of Trattoria Pane e Panelle in Bologna told m e t h a t , e x ce p t f o r r a g u ( t h e r e a l bolognese sauce) and a few other regional specialties (carbonara, caccio e pepe), most Italians eat pasta with tomato sauce. Period.

So, is it Italian?

Spaghetti and Meatballs Italians eat spaghetti, and Italians eat meatballs. They just don't eat them together. Pasta is not a main dish in Italy,

Photos (clockwise from left): Sicilian pizza with fresh tomato, eggplant, and cheese; Pizza with free tomatoes, zucchini, cheese, and potatoes; Pizza with zucchini flowers, tomatoes, and cheese; Pugliese pizza with pomodoro, burrata, prosciutto, and arugula; Quattro staggione (Four seasons) pizza with artichokes, olives, mushrooms, and ham; Pizza with pomodoro, anchovies, cheese, and oregano

so Italians eat it first and serve the meatballs or other meat afterwards. Many don't even cook the meatballs in the sauce; they bake the meatballs and serve them plain after the pasta with a side dish. Meatballs—polpette in Italian—were originally a mix of bread crumbs, grated cheese, and egg formed into small balls. That dish just still exists in some parts of Italy. When the Italians came to this country and meat was more affordable, they started making the balls out of meat, and they made them larger and larger, almost a sign of status. Spaghetti Bolognese Spaghetti Bolognese does not exist in Italy, and ordering it may award you a scornful look from the waiter. Tagliatelle Bolognese or al Ragu originated in Bologna, and the sauce is a mix of finally diced carrots finally diced celery, finely diced onions, pancetta (Italian bacon), and ground veal or beef. There's very little tomato in the dish, maybe a tablespoon or so of tomato paste just for flavor. This heavy sauce needs a pasta that is wide enough to hold it, so they serve it over tagliatelle, a pasta wide enough to support it. Fettuccine Alfredo The first time my mother had what Americans call Fettuccine Alfredo, she was in her 60s, and what she had does not exist in Italy. The original Italian version, pasta al burro e parmigiana, is a simple mix of


butter and cheese that emulsifies when added to the hot pasta. Americans started adding cream to the sauce (Italians don't cook with cream), and as the dish’s popularity grew, they started adding proteins like chicken or shrimp. Garlic bread I never ate garlic bread until I was in my 20s, and that was at the home of a friend of Irish descent. Garlic bread is an American invention, again probably thought of by someone who wanted something “fancy” to sop up the sauce left on plates. Italians put a basket of bread down, no butter, no oil. The thought is the bread is good enough by itself. At times, people drizzle a little olive oil and salt on the bread, but that's usually when they're eating it as a snack. Pepperoni pizza If you're in Italy and order pepperoni pizza, what you'll end up getting is pizza with little peppers on top of it. Peperoni—notice the one P—translates as peppers in Italian. Pepperoni, with two Ps, is an American-Italian invention. In Italy, you can find a dry, spicy sausage that is comparable to pepperoni, and you can order that on pizza in some places. Italians crown pizza with prosciutto (cotto or crudo), sausages, anchovies, or vegetables.

During my many visits to Bologna, Italy, I have had the opportunity to meet and have lunch with Chef Luca Giovanni Pappalardo. More than once, he has graciously agreed to answer my many questions about Italian cuisine. What follows is our latest interview in which we talked pasta. Please note that I translated his answers There are more than 600 shapes of pasta. What is real pasta, though? The pasta is produced with our best semolina, the semolina of our wheat, the ancient grains that we are reevaluating today. Pasta is a fantastic design product. The lines on the macaroni are used to make the sauce stick. The pacchero makes pak when it falls on the pan. The fusillo is like a DNA helix. All pasta is beautiful. All regions make pasta in different forms. Why? Each region has its own pasta, yes. In Sicily, we have the anelletti (rings) to make in the oven. In Puglia, they cook orecchiette (little ears). In Emilia-Romagna, we often fill fresh egg pasta (tortellini). In Lombardy, they eat rice (ha ha), which is not a pasta. The shape of the pasta is useful for collecting and absorbing the sauce with which we combine it. Do Italians eat pasta with meat? In reality, apart from ragÚ, carbonara and other exceptional classics, the pasta we eat most is the one with tomato sauce. Can you tell me how northern pasta, southern pasta, Sicilian pasta differ? In the North, stued egg pasta (tortellini, tortelloni, cappelletti) were produced as they were a rich pasta for the rich. In the South and Sicily, they made pasta with semolina and water, no eggs, no filling. It was only an economic question and then also of climate. The semolina pasta is suitable for fresher, more summer recipes.

What do you think are most important ingredients to Italian food? The most i m p o r t a n t ingredients in my opinion are, tomato, aubergines (eggplant), basil. I believe that vegetables are our forte even if we don't realize it. Vegetables. Meat. Chef Pappalardo and Isabel Muratori, owner of Pane e Panelle Fish. Which is more I mportant to Italian food? Why? Vegetables are in the first place. Today, many young people are returning to take care of the fields for a more sustainable agriculture. What is the difference between Northern Italy and Southern Italy cuisine? Of Sicily? Sardinia? In the North, there is a more structured cuisine with long cooking on both meat and vegetables. Even the fish is more loaded and combined with heavier ingredients. In Sicily, direct cooking is done. We gather and cook; we fish and cook. In Sardinia, they eat more meat than fish, which is a strange and fascinating for an island. What are you doing with Italian cuisine? I am working on the recovery of both vegetable and animal waste. I use the entrails, liver, heart, kidneys, lungs or vegetable peels, seeds, waste leaves. I don't throw anything away. I want to leave a nice world for my children.

One of these plates of contains meatballs made with pork and beef, while the other contains polpette made with breadcrumbs, cheese, and egg. Can you tell which is which? Answer on page 90.


Photos (clockwise from left): Bread basket; The chef with fresh chard; Fresh pappardelle; spicy dry sausage; Tuscan bread appetizer with olives and arugula

Upscale Dining in a Robe Relaxing and Dining at Izanami and Ten Thousand Waves—Santa Fe, New Mexico By Christina P. Kantzavelos


t was a dreamy and unforgettable experience. It was a wish-list item I’d wanted to cross off. It was a visit to Izanami at Ten Thousand Waves like no other.

Ten Thousand Waves Spa and Resort has been a renowned Santa Fe, New Mexico travel destination since 1981. Located 1,000 feet above the city (and the closest accommodation to the Santa Fe ski area), the resort feels a world away. We were blessed to be hosted for a day of relaxing bliss and top-notch dining. From the moment my partner and I stepped foot on the magnificent property inspired by Japanese mountain hot springs, we were enamored with the serene energy, architecture, stillness, and the junipers and piñon-filled mountains surrounding us.

Relaxing in the Hot Springs Prior to dining, we decided to take a dip in their natural hot springs. Soaking underneath a blanket of stars in their healing communal waters was almost indescribable. I personally felt like I was transported back to a traditional onsen (bathhouse) in Japan. The resort also features private tubs for rent, as well as a women’s only tub, cold plunges, saunas, and a full spa menu. After relaxing in the hot springs for a while, we were ready for dinner. And to our surprise, it was suggested we stroll over in our robes. Yes, we were encouraged to eat at a James Beard-nominated restaurant in our robes. And may I say that we did so happily and gracefully.

Dining at Izanami Izanami, the resort’s restaurant, showcases a gorgeous interior design with ceiling beams salvaged from Japan, and handcrafted New Mexican woodwork. The restaurant serves an upscale izakaya experience that includes four categories of Japanese small plates—cold, hot, Japanese charcoal-grilled, and fried. These small plates are of no surprise, perfect for sharing.


Thanks to Duke for arranging my visit. Log onto for more information about how to plan your visit.

A majority of Iazanami’s food, veggies, and meat is sourced from organic and sustainable purveyors, many local. For those with Celiac disease, or are gluten-intolerant, Chef Kiko will be your new favorite person. The kitchen has a dedicated fryer, and all of their fried menu items are gluten-free. A blend of rice flour, corn starch, and potato flour creates the perfect breaded crisp. In addition, the menu features several vegetarian and vegan options.

Favorite Menu Items Fortunately, we were able to partake of both their omakase (chefselected items) and fried menu items on the day of our visit. Since the restaurant had just received their fresh shipment from Japan, we started with a sashimi plate of fresh salmon and hibachi. We then moved to the gluten-free fried menu and all we could say was “Wow.” The tori no karaage, a chicken, lemon and spiced mayo dish was so indelible, we purchased two orders and even considered a third. The ebi age fried shrimp dish, served with Aji Amarillo sweet chile was delectable. Shichimi fries made from russet potatoes, shichimi togarashi, and yuzu aioli was scrumptious, as were the gobo fries prepared with burdock root and seasoned with wasabi sea salt. We couldn’t think of anything else that could make our dinner any more ideal. Though we didn’t have the chance to sample the wagyu beef during our visit, we learned the meat is sourced from Nebraska and Miyazaki, Japan. Both are renowned to be the most amazing meats diners will eat. Another popular option for diners is the Shabu Shabu Omakase (Japanese hot pot). The pot of either a meat or vegetable-based broth is delivered to each customer table, and when it boils, a selection of vegetables, meat, and noodles can be added to the soup. Meal finishers feature top-shelf sake and beautiful desserts—all made in-house. Staff at both the spa and restaurant were phenomenal and accommodating. My personal dietary restrictions were taken seriously and they happily answered all of my questions regarding menu items and their preparation. Ten Thousand Waves was an unforgettable experience, and we so look forward to returning for an overnight stay, a private bath, a sample of their Shabu Shabu (Japanese hot pot), along with the alluring services of their award-winning spa. I can easily understand why guests would never want to leave the resort when they visit. It’s a magical all-inclusive experience for the body, mind, and spirit— one we’d love to experience again.

All photos of Izanami


Melbourne’s Wine Playground

A visit to the cellar door provides an in-depth tasting of wines…

Photos (this page): A view of the valley from Eldridge Estate cellar door; Opposite page (left-to-right): Craig Kegan serves Pier 10 wines; John Trueman at Myrtaceae serves wine; PTG 18 at Eldridge Estate



ornington Peninsula, Melbourne’s summertime playground, is also a thriving wine region on Australia’s East Coast. You can be on the beach in the morning, and twenty minutes later, with sand still stuck to your flip flops, be tasting wine in the afternoon.

Surrounded by ocean on three sides, the Mornington Peninsula is one of Australia’s few true maritime wine regions. Similar to Burgundy, France or Oregon’s Willamette Valley in climate, soils and wine produced in this cool region means that early ripening varietals like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir do well here. Vineyards grow from the gentle, undulating countryside of the north through the rich fertile wooded uplands, tumbling down to the southern plains. Here 200 vineyards and close to 50 wineries produce some of the most desired, cool climate wines in the country. It was here in this green and still very much rural hinterland that the Mornington Peninsula wine renaissance started back in the 1970’s. Today almost 50 percent of the plantings are Pinot Noir, around 25 percent Chardonnay, and about 11 percent Pinot Gris, a grape recently introduced to this region. Here are five cellar doors (Australia’s term for tasting rooms) that showcase the brilliance of this region’s wine.

Where to Taste Ten Minutes by Tractor As the unusual name implies, this place is about time and distance as measured by farm equipment. The winery’s story began in 1997 with three family owned vineyards in the stunning Main Ridge area of the peninsula, each 10 minutes apart by tractor. Over the years, the winery has grown to include three additional vineyards and produces some of the finest estategrown wine in the region. A visit to the cellar door provides an in-depth tasting of wines that express the true character of the winery’s surrounding vineyards. Our favorite, the 2017 Wallis Pinot Noir, offers pure, bright fruit aromas. On the palate, strawberry and raspberry flavors are apparent with a very soft tannin structure and slight acidity in the finish. Pier 10 The Cellar Door Manager, Craig Keygan, delivers an informative yet fun experience in wine tasting. You can taste house-made sparkling wines (all Methode Champenoise), followed by aromatic whites including Riesling, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. The tastings are matched cleverly to the seasons of the peninsula. For example, a new Rosé for the summer might be a unique blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. The hero of the peninsula, Pinot Noir, is also well showcased here. Pier 10 sources fruit from other wine growing areas of Australia so you can also enjoy tasting a warmer climate Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon. Our pick to take home to our own wine cellar, the 2016 Coutta Block Chardonnay Reserve, is elegant and smooth with a lovely soft texture on the palate, lightly oaked in flavor and aromas. Myrtaceae John and Julie Trueman, two retired teachers, do it all here at Myrtaceae. They grow the grapes, make the


wine and guarantee a warm welcome. Although they are the smallest vineyard on the peninsula with a cellar door, the Truemans are dedicated to producing wines that provide true expressions of the varietals in their little vineyard. Located near Arthurs Seat on the Main Ridge of the peninsula, the winery and tasting room are art-deco inspired with blue and teal fittings and features. Myrtaceae serves tastings of elegant Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Rosé in Riedel rolling tasting glassware. To aerate the wine and bring out its bouquet, guests are encouraged to roll these perfectly sized glasses across the tasting bar or nearby covered barrels. Rolling our glasses of the 2014 Pinot Noir unleashed a bouquet of berries and earthiness with a hint of pepper. With a brilliantly clear crimson color, it’s elegantly structured with a smooth satiny finish. Take some time to wander the well-maintained sloping gardens planted proudly with native Myrtle varietals and take in picturesque views of their small valley location. Mont Rouge Estate Taking its name from the rich garnet colored soil of the Red Hill area of the peninsula, the stunning vineyards of Mont Rouge Estate were planted 30 years ago. A spacious deck overlooks the vines, and a French-inspired cellar door suggests a unique style of winemaking. A moderate use of French barriques provides a subtle oak character to their exclusive, handmade, estate-grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The 2017 Mont Rouge Estate Red Hill Single Vineyard Pinot Gris, a generous and complex wine, is true to its style and varietal. Its ripe, fresh nose with floral notes and touches of poached pear leads to a luscious palate with subtle oak and multi-layered richness. Family owned and operated by Jeff Smith and his daughter Jenny (the resident chef) Mont Rouge also has an onsite restaurant. After tasting, we were delighted to dine on a gourmet lunch paired with estate wines.

Eldridge Estate Gamay is another delicate cool-climate grape that can be found on the Mornington Peninsula. Although Eldridge Estate creates elegant, personality-packed, award-winning wines from several varietals, their Gamay is especially inspired. Grown in single vineyards planted on the estate in 1984, the Gamay is then handcrafted into small lots. Eldridge Estate only produces an average of 1000 cases of wine per year yet is famous for wines of complexity and length. With a gorgeous view from their cellar door, you can look out on a sheltered undulating valley, home to 8 acres of vineyards. Eldrige’s PTG 18, a 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay released in 2018, is a juicy, fresh wine showing fruit forward. It finishes softly but with a gentle berry flavor—perfect for summer drinking!

Where to Stay Holiday home rentals are very popular in this beach and wine vacationland, along with a wide range of hotels. Two standouts include Hotel Sorrento and the Boathouse Resort Studios and Suites. Hotel Sorrento Overlooking the sparkling waters of Port Phillip Bay, Hotel Sorrento’s clifftop location, is an ideal spot to base yourself on the Mornington Peninsula. Set in the heart of the lovable town of Sorrento, the hotel lies within walking distance of postcard-worthy beaches. It perfectly blends old-world charm with modern luxury. Enjoy dinner and drinks with a view from their onsite restaurant or one of three cocktail lounges. Boathouse Resort Ideally located between Rye and Sorrento on the peninsula, the Boathouse Resort offers spacious accommodations opposite the Blairgowrie Beach. Its onsite restaurant, Panda, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.


Where to Eat In Rosebud, Spitfire Burgers claims to serve the “biggest and best gourmet burger” on the Mornington Peninsula. We can’t argue that. Try one yourself while enjoying the wartime memorabilia that is the restaurant’s theme. We love The Baths for its fresh, open air restaurant overlooking Sorrento Beach. Beer battered fish and chips are popular, but the menu also offers many other tempting dishes. Their extensive wine list includes plenty of wines by the glass to accompany your meal. After lunch, we walked the Bay Trail to Sorrento Pier to enjoy scenic views of the town and beach. Many of the wineries also have onsite restaurants, a great option while out wine tasting. T Gallant’s pizzeria is super popular and offers outdoor seating with a scenic view of the vineyards. Ten Minutes by Tractor’s bistro and bar, Petit Tracteur, draws visitors f r o m a c r o s s Au s t r a l i a . Re s e r v a t i o n s a r e recommended.

If You Go The easiest way to get to the Mornington is to fly into Melbourne International Airport and then rent a car. In just an hour’s drive, you’ll find the scenery delightful. Be sure to explore the peninsula’s rainbow-colored beach boxes of Port Phillip Bay. These icons of the Mornington can be found from Mount Eliza and Dromana to Rosebud and Portsea. For more information on things to do and places to go, Visit Mornington’s visitor website.

Photos (this page): Charcuterie board at Mont Rouge Restaurant; Myrtle plant

Hit the Trail for a Delmarva Wine Weekend


massive brick manor house rises from the flat but fertile land at water’s edge. Next door a tasting room is filled to the brim with a lively crowd enjoying fine wines. Weekends bring live music to complete the experience you’d expect in Napa or Sonoma, but this is in Maryland’s Eastern Shore!

All 50 U.S. states have wineries nowadays so why not the Delmarva too? The Eastern Shore produces most of Maryland’s farm products, and grapes are a significant addition to these crops. Over the last 50 years or so many Delmarva vintners are crafting wines for a thirsty crowd. Some winemakers tend to produce fruity wines for a younger palate while others are making seriously good dry wines. What most visitors find at Eastern Shore wineries are red and white wines worth the trip. Come along as we sample some of the best wines the Delmarva has to offer. Head south of Salisbury to Bordeleau Vineyards and Winery deep into Maryland’s fabled Eastern Shore. The manor house dominates the landscape, and their wines are impressive. Don’t be surprised if the parking lot is full on weekends as Bordeleau has a loyal following. Late fall or early spring is a beautiful time to visit when the fireplace and music warm up the room. Belly up to the tasting counter or grab a table and sit a spell with a glass of Bordeleau’s “3 Meritage” red blend. This classic Bordeaux style blend holds estate-grown grapes combining merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, petite verdot, and merlot to round off a delicious glass of red perfection. Check Bordeleau’s event calendar to plan your trip and consider staying nearby at the White Haven Hotel for classy lodging. Chtaeau Bu-De wine lineup; Chateau Bu-De tasting room; Broken Spoke wine flight


Two hours north of Bordeleau find Crow Vineyard and Winery. At first look you might think this farm looks more like a cattle ranch than a

Crow Vineyards wine dog; Nassau Valley Winery; Bordeleau Manor House

vineyard. Crow does indeed farm, raise angus beef, soybeans and hay, but also has 12 acres of vineyards. Three generations of the Crow family have worked this land. Diversifying into the world of winemaking was a big step, but a move that’s paid off. With sevenplus years under their belt, Crow Vineyard and Winery has racked up some impressive awards. Just two years after building their winery Crow won a gold medal at an international wine competition for a Vida Blanc. Be sure and try their chardonnay, reserve red blend, sparkling vidal, and barbera rosé when you go. Crow Vineyards also offers a farm stay in an 1837 renovated farmhouse. Breakfast is included, and you can request a picnic lunch or dinner for an additional cost. Located one-and-a-half hours from Baltimore, Washington DC, and Philadelphia makes Crow Vineyard and Winery perfect for a peaceful weekend escape. Equestrian and wine lovers will enjoy a trip to Broken Spoke Vineyard and Winery south of Chesapeake City. With a lineup of wines covering sweet to dry varieties, Broken Spoke delivers down-on-the-farm fun. The tasting room looks more like a square dance barn with wine than a typical tasting room. The tasting flights are served on a wood plank, and glasses are held in place with horseshoes. A business card by each wine provides tasting notes. These delightful cards have humorous descriptions and cartoon characters to complement the name of the wine. Try the Rumors Red made from barbera grapes delivering hints of boysenberry, ripe cherry, and plum. White wine standouts are Broken Spoke’s traminette or Word Play (a chardonnay/traminette blend). If the weather is warm try Broken Spoke’s rosé offerings, Hey Hay Rosé and Just Say Rosé. Several wine tasting flights are offered or order your favorite wine by the glass. With a lineup of award-winning wines this good, you’ll probably take several bottles home. Chateau Bu-De is just a six-minute drive from Broken Spoke making it easy to try two wineries in an afternoon. With the opening of their new tasting room in October 2017, Chateau Bu-De is one of the


finest Wineries on the East Coast. As you stroll the grounds of this historic estate founded in the 1660s by cartographer Augustine Herman, take time to see the ruins of Mr. Herman’s original. The 440-acre property looks out on the Bohemia River making this perfect to watch the sunset with a glass of wine in hand. Chateau Bu-De uses grapes from their estate, Maryland, and from Napa to make some of the finest red or white wines in Maryland. Winemaker Jacques van der Vyver uses old world and new world techniques in the state-of-the-art winery production building opened in 2015. Don’t miss the Grüner Veltliner, reserve chardonnay, or sauvignon blanc if white wines are your favorite. Their red wines are quite good also. Try the Dickerson Red or the Cabernet Franc for lush, full-bodied wines to pair with a cheese platter. With the opening of the new tasting room, event space, and winery, Chateau Bu-De is getting noticed. Both Chateau Bu-De and Broken Spoke are close to quality B&Bs in Chesapeake City for an overnight stay. Nassau Valley Vineyards was the first Delaware winery. Don’t miss the self-guided walking tour inside, just next to the tasting room. Walk through eight centuries of wine knowledge including photos, text, and winemaking equipment onsite. Guided tours are available by appointment. A $7 tasting fee includes a souvenir glass to take home. Nassau Valley Vineyards has won numerous awards over the years. Those who love fruity wines will find the award-winning Peach Ambrosia a perfect dessert wine or summer sipper. The Cabernet Sauvignon has racked up several awards and delivers a dry wine to pair with a rib eye steak, baked potato, and sautéed mushrooms. While Napa and Sonoma have little to fear from Delmarva wines, those of us who live near these excellent wineries have much to gain. This wine-snob writer was recently converted to believing Delmarva vintners can produce top-quality wines. And on the Delmarva, we get great seafood and produce to pair with these excellent local wines. That’s a winning combination close to home worth checking out.

exploring the Sea, the Hills, and the Mountains of Northern Italy By LM Archer

Views of Lago Carezza in the Dolomites



ooking for world-class wines, top-tier agritourism, and stunning scenery? Northern Italy delivers all three—as well as at exceptional value—all within driving distance of Venice.

The Sea: Venissa Skip the bustle of Venice for Venissa, a luxury resort located on the tranquil island of Mazzorbo. This Venetian gem in the northern lagoon features boutique lodging, a Michelin-star restaurant, contemporary osteria, and walled vineyard all a short ferry ride away from Piazza San Marco. Lovingly restored by the prominent Bisol family of Prosecco fame, Venissa’s enclosed vineyard grows the Dorona di Venezia variety, a rare white grape once favored by Venetian nobility. Coveted by collectors, Venissa Dorona wine honor Venice’s three artisanal traditions: wine, gold, and glass. Venice’s last remaining gold hammerers, the Berta Battiloro (meaning ‘gold hammerer’ in Italian) family, handhammers the gold leaf used to label this small production wine; glassmakers on the island of Murano then bake the gold labels onto each bottle. Ristorante Venissa proffers Venissa and Venissa Rosso in various vintages and formats in addition to over 200 international and local small-lot selections. Savor avant-garde Venetian cuisine such as fish from the lagoon, vegetables from the estate, and wild herbs from the vineyard lovingly prepared by chefs Francesco Brutto and Chiara Pavan.


Where to Stay: Try the five-room Venissa Wine Resort or 13-room Casa Burano, both located just a footbridge away on the colorful island of Burano. Where to Eat: For formal dining, Venissa Restaurant is a must while Osteria Contemporanea offers tasty food in a casual atmosphere. Getting to Venice: Fly into Venice Marco Polo airport (VCE). You’ll need a rental car for venturing outside the city; the airport offers several different options. Getting to Venissa: If you take a water taxi from Venice, the trip takes 20 minutes while the water taxi from the airport will take 30 minutes. Another option is to take the vaporetto from Venice (35 minutes) or the airport (1 hour 15 minutes).

Between the Mountains and the Sea: Zorzettig To sip wines grown beyond the lagoon, drive east from Venice to Zorzettig estate which is located in Spessa, the heart of Colli Orientali el Friuli wine region bordering Slovenia. Meet the formidable Annalisa Zorzettig, a former attorney and active member of Associazione Nazionale Le Donne del Vino (Women in Wine), who helms her family’s 100-year-old estate. Renown for their Friulano wines (once known as Tocai), Zorzettig also claims fame for their premier MYÒ Vignetti di Spessa

Photos: Hillside vineyards of Alto Adige; Zorzettig vineyards in Spessa; Zorzettig estate bee hives

line, terroir-driven wines hand-harvested from the winery’s premium vineyards. (“MYÒ” references an ancient Friulano poem comparing the poet’s beloved woman to his beloved land.) You’ll want to sip t h r o u g h t h e Z o r z e t t i g C l a s s i c L i n e , to o approachable, affordable wines made from local varieties like Ribolla and Refosco, plus a few international varieties like Cabernet Franc. Where to Stay: Retire to Zorzettig’s charmingly appointed nine-room Relais La Collina in Ipplis, overlooking undulating hills safeguarded as a World UNESCO Heritage site. Take a refreshing dip in the pool, then stroll through the estate’s vineyards as the village bell tower tolls in the distance. Where to Eat: Step outside of your room and into the Relais La Collina dining room. Menus var y seasonally, and showcase regional ingredients like honey from Zorzettig’s own estate bee hives.

The Hills: Monte Zovo For a tipple through the hills of northern Italy’s lake district, journey west to Monte Zovo in the town of Caprino Veronese. Monte Zovo estate belongs to the prestigious Cottini family whose winemaking history spans four generations. Leaders in sustainability, they have an eco-friendly winery and renovated cellar featuring polished pink marble sourced from nearby hillsides. The winery earned organic certification in 2018 and boasts Biodiversity Friend certification by the World Biodiversity Association. Taste from their impressive portfolio, including organic and sulfur-free wines, as well as their flagship Calinverno, made from Corvina grapes. “Calinverna in local dialect means “hoarfrost,” a reference to the two-stage drying process used to make the wine. End on the veranda, drinking in the views of Lake Garda. Conclude your visit to the area with a visit to Cottini’s Tregnago Estate Fruittaio (fruit drying facility) near Verona. High atop the hills, this site’s natural ventilation proves perfect for the traditional appassimento method of drying grapes in boxes, a process necessary to produce Valpolicella and Amarone wines.


Where to Stay: Cottini’s Casa Maffei, a relaxing, 4room agritourism ‘country house’ tucked between the vineyards and trees of Tregnano Estate. Where to Eat: Find gourmet dining at Villa Cariola, a short drive from Monte Zovo. The restaurant, part of a resort hotel, serves up typical Veronese fare like baked, stuffed zucchini flowers, risi e bisi (risotto with new peas), and fresh fish from Lake Garda. Don’t forget to try the tiramisù!

The Mountains: Cantina Tramin Looking for some high-altitude wines? Skirt the Adige river north towards the Dolomites, until you arrive at the alpine village of Termeno sulla Strada del Vino in Alto Adige, also known as Sud Tyrol. Once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, this wine-loving region sports local signage in both German and Italian. A popular destination for cyclists, so prepare to share the narrow, winding roads. Head straight for Cantina Tramin, an award-winning wine co-operative founded in 1898. You can’t miss the bright green metal and glass structure, designed to resemble vines growing on the surrounding hillsides. While Cantina Tramin does produce wines from local red varieties like Schiava and Lagrein, aromatic whites dominate, particularly their flagship varietal, Gewürtztraminer. Where to Stay: Bunk at Traminerhof, a sleek, cyclistfriendly modern hotel with a bountiful morning breakfast bar fit for the most discerning foodies. Where to Eat: Explore dining alfresco under the arbors at Ansitz Romani, famous for their highquality game sourced from local hunters. Plan to spend at least five to seven days exploring the seas, hills, and mountains of northern Italy, and a lifetime savoring each region’s distinctive wines.

While the author was the guest of the wineries noted, she received no compensation; all opinions expressed are hers.

Venissa vineyard and old bell tower; Dining alfresco at the Cottini family's Casa Maffei; Cantina Tramin Wine Cooperative in Alto Adige; Cantina Tramin winemaker Willi Stürtz

Trailhead Spirits Building ©Trailhead Spirits

Group cheers at Uberbrew, Courtesy Visit Billings

Cider in Glasses, ©Last Chance Cider Pub & Cider Mill

Trailhead Spirits Gin Bottles, © Trailhead Spirits

©Last Chance Pub & Cider Mill Cider

Quench Your thirst in Billings, Montana By Lori Sweet


reckon that when you think of Montana, you think of wide-open spaces and cowboys riding into the sunset. Billings is the largest city in this northwestern U.S. state. Visit the downtown, hike the surrounding mountains, take a trip out to the plains or enjoy activities on the Yellowstone River. When you get thirsty, Billings has an easy solution to that situation.

Billings Brew Trail This self-guided tour made up of six breweries, two distilleries and one cider house are located along a 1.5-mile route, in the heart of the historic downtown. Yellowstone Valley Brewing is one of the oldest breweries in Billings. Located in a renovated garage, they are a brewery and


distillery in one. Besides offering beer with names like Black Widow Stout, Grizzly Wulfwheat and Hucklewiezer (a wheat beer with a touch of huckleberry), this establishment also has weekly live music. Located in a former warehouse, Last Chance Pub & Cider Mill boasts a floor-toceiling German-style fireplace that adds warmth to a welcoming atmosphere. The regionally sourced artisanal food is served with handcrafted cider made at the on-site mill. Beer from their sister company, Red Lodge Ales, is also served along with select wines. Full Montana, Pearfection, or Hiphopopotamus are perfect ways to start your tasting adventure.

With a name like Asylum Distillery, you know there has to be a story here. Initially, the owners were going to renovate an old asylum for their new distillery, but it wasn't to be. They kept the name and opened elsewhere, even adding a giant electric chair in the corner of the tasting room. Small batches of high-quality spirits are handcrafted here. Creative names like Montana Mo o n s h i n e A p p l e P i e a n d Straight Jacket Vanilla Rum are but two of its innovative offerings. Überbrew is the only brewery taproom and gastropub in Billings. “Uber” means “superlative,” and that's what t h e y s t r i v e f o r. T h e i r te a m consists of award-winning brewers, chefs and beer stewards

ser ving a wide variety of food alongside beers like White Noise (wheat beer) and Pink Slip (fruit beer,) to name a few. Names like De-Railed India Pale Ale, Black Magic Porter or Train Wreck Imperial IPA, might give you a clue to the theme of Carter's Brewing. Located in a building previously used for railroad storage, tracks running by the back door along with the railroad theme throughout this award-winning family-owned microbrewery, make it a unique place to stop for a pint or two.

products as possible. The source for their grain is the farm that’s been in owner Casey McGowan’s family for over 100 years. Family is a definite theme here. Healy’s, their awardwinning gin was named after the owner's great-grandfather, a wellknown bootlegger during the Prohibition Era. Visit for a tour, a sample or buy a few bottles to take home.

Housed in the 100-year-old Montana Power Company building, you’ll find Montana Brewing Company, a combined small brewery, saloon, and restaurant. Enjoy wood-fired pizza and local beer such as Custer's Last Stout in the expansive indoor eatery, or on the patio.

Winemaking and Montana in the same breath may seem uncommon, and it typically is, but that didn't stop Clint Pe c k from founding Yellowstone Cellars & Winery. Their tagline is “Serious Wines from Big Sky Country.” Wines are produced from premium vinifera wine grapes handpicked from small family vineyards in the Yakima Valley of Washington. Still on the stem, the g r a p e s a r e t h e n t r a n s p o r te d to Billings.

Thirsty Street Brewing Co is a microbrewery serving beer with names like Bear's Delight Honey Wheat and Rhymes with Orange, all-natural and unfiltered, along with a variety of snacks. Patrons can also enjoy the pool table and shuffleboard at this family-friendly establishment.

Wine magic happens on-site from the fermentation, pressing and cellaring, to bottling. You can take a tour, participate in a barrel tasting, sample wines, order food from their deli menu, order a glass of wine to enjoy t h e r e , o r t a ke a b o t t l e o r c a s e home.

Last but not least is Angr y Hank's. Initially founded in an old gas station then moved to a 1916 carriage house, this microbrewery does not offer food for sale but does provide free snacks. Beer names like Dog Slobber Brown Ale, Anger Management Belgian Wheat and Street Fight Irish Pale Ale beg patrons to ask the story behind them.

Montana Rules

Off the Brew Trail Tr a i l h e a d S p i r i t s i s a c r a f t distillery located in the west end of Billings. They create gin, vodka and whisky from as many Montana-made


Montana has some very confusing rules regarding opening hours, and the serving of food. It’s a good idea to check the opening and closing times of these and other establishments that serve alcohol. With so much to see and do over and above visiting these establishments, you can be confident you will never go thirsty at this stop at Montana's Trail Head.

Photos (from left): Big Sky Country Montana; Pictograph Caves State Park; Yellowstone Cellars, ©Yellowstone Cellars; Beer being served, Courtesy Visit Billings; Barrels at Yellowstone Cellars Winery; Yellowstone Cellars Winery door

Kitchens for good cooks up change

By M’Liss Hinshaw


ometimes life doesn’t go as planned, and shattered dreams lead to no clear path to success. The non-profit organization Kitchens for Good has been changing lives by teaching culinary and life skills which sets people on a new road. There’s more to this organization than making “lemonade out of lemons” for people with difficulties. It’s an accomplished corroborative program. Kitchens for Good combines the power of teaching cooking skills to a designated population while reducing food waste and serving the community. An overarching goal of a culinary apprenticeship program and making nutritious meals by using surplus foods impacts those challenged in a multifaceted approach. The success is realized in individual lives, the community in need and the restaurant industry. Seems so simple, yet this nonprofit organization strives to connect the dots and brings it to fruition. As I toured the facility in San Diego, I was shown the walk-in cooler with bins of produce on the shelves, but this was no ordinary produce. Meals for food-insecure children and seniors will benefit in more ways than one when cooks pull out the produce and carefully prepare it. The instructors also use the produce to teach preparation skills for people learning the culinary profession.


Thanks to a coordinated effort with many produce suppliers, deliveries are accepted three times a week and stored in the cooler. Each head of non-perfect looking lettuce and blemished squash is accounted for and tallied in a computer system. What becomes of this unused produce is life-changing.

Kitchens for Good Changes Lives in Many Ways Founder and Board Member Chuck Samuelson (a retired restaurateur) and Senior Director and CoFounder Aviva Paley (program design, marketing, and fundraising), together have developed this multi-faceted approach and it is thriving. People who have been incarcerated, transitioned out of foster care, dealt with domestic violence or drug usage can apply for the culinary apprenticeship program named Project Launch. Potential students must express reasons why they are applying, their individual strengths, skills they possess for the good of the program and future goals. Students commit to a 12-week program, Monday thru Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Additional time is slotted for on-the-job training beyond class time. The rules to graduate are strict and the rewards great. For a population that may be used to breaking rules, the discipline they learn will make them responsible employees for the demands in a professional kitchen. Tuition is

f r e e . A n e v e r- m o v i n g f o r w a r d organization, an 18-month certified culinary apprenticeship program is on the horizon. Beyond culinary training, such as learning the basics of knife skills, measurements, boiling and sautéing, there are daily classroom instructions about life skills. To begin the day, a student writes a positive affirmation on the board for all to share. In the classroom, I noticed measurement charts and pictures of produce with descriptions posted on the wall. It dawned on me how I take both for granted and don’t give a second thought about broccoli or lines on measuring cups.

The Wasted Event Turns Throw Away into Edible & Drinkable Items Recently, I was a guest at a Kitchens for Good fund raiser named WASTED: A Celebration of Sustainable Food. Local and celebrity chefs, plus mixologists prepared cocktails and dishes with food that usually would be thrown away. It sounded like an intriguing concept for a benefit and I was pleased to attend. The Kitchens for Good large event center was a beehive of activity as sa vor y ingredients usually discarded such as corn cobs, banana peels and lobster shells were turned into edible meals and drinkable cocktails. It was not only a time for chefs to be creative, but a learning experience as well. Food scraps were used as repurposed ingredients rather than filling trash containers.

All photos of Kitchens for Good and participants in the program


I spotted Executive Chef Tara May, of Cucina Sorel la Restaurant (a 2019recognized Michelin Bibbed Restaurant), and she is a graduate of Kitchens for Good. She served vegetable maltagliati pasta using the underutilized portions from red and yellow peppers, plus eggplant and parmesan rind. She served it over pasta scraps which had been pushed aside from making ravioli. Chef May mentioned that she has set goals about expanding her menu by using seasonal ingredients from local farms. She also desires to study origins of food by exploring different cultures and religions and then adding her own twist. Chef May ensures she gives back to her alma mater by volunteering and mentoring with her recognized experience in the kitchen.

The Many Facets of the Collaborative Program Catering and events greatly help to support this non-profit school. Many community groups which sur vive on limited funds can host their meetings using this cost saving catering service. And the students come to realize the tasks of preparing large quantities, transporting and setting up, is all together a different culinary component. The school’s event center is the go-to-place for company and corporate meetings with meal service, audio-visual equipment and breakout rooms. Pr o j e c t No u r i s h s e r v e s h o m e l e s s organizations, seniors, after school and summer camp programs. In the past year, over 160,000 meals have filled this need with more to come in the new year. Healthy meals are prepared by the students and packa ged for efficient delivery. It’s part of giving back for the students as many experienced hunger in the past. Volunteer opportunities are available in many fulfilling roles such as grant writing, sorting rescued food and community cooking. People interested in volunteering can email and discuss volunteer opportunities. The Apprenticeship program is getting ready to expand in exciting ways. A concentrated Baking Program is soon to open at a separate location and the commercial baking has generated much interest. Next, to serve the needs of those in the northern part of San Diego county, the Luna Café at Moonlight Amphitheatre will hold Culinary Training Programs and open a Café for the public. Since 2015, the culinary program has graduated 264 individuals with an 89 percent employment rate. Graduates are tracked and mentored for 18 months with high achie vement rates. Blemished produce has turned many lives into success and contributed to the community in a multitude of positive ways.

Kitchens for Good is located at the Javits Center, 404 Euclid Avenue, San Diego, CA, 92114

Dining As Fresh As It Gets~ California’s San Mateo County By Mary Farah


ave you noticed the term, farm to table, appearing more in the restaurant industry? While it's one of the most progressive movements in recent years for the conscious diner, it’s no surprise that San Mateo County in California has been advocating for the best locally sourced foods long before the trendy term entered our minds.

The concept behind farm to table is quite simple—to advocate for and to acquire locally sourced fresh foods. While you're sure to taste the quality and freshness on your plate, a perfect example of this great movement lays within San Mateo County. And, as home to artistic seaside communities such as Pacifica and Half Moon Bay, San Mateo County was a natural to give birth to the As Fresh As It Gets program.

37 North, Courtesy of San Mateo County Silicon Valley CVB

37 North, Courtesy of San Mateo County Silicon Valley CVB

San Mateo County's As Fresh As It Gets The As Fresh As It Gets program brings together the area's finest in hospitality, agriculture, fishing, wine, and beer. The county recognizes businesses that go out of their way to serve the freshest locally sourced fare. The county awards the establishments with plaques to display as well as encourage qualifying candidates to note menu items as San Mateo County Fresh. San Mateo County offers a bounty of restaurants, but here’s a handful of favorites that serve As Fresh As It Gets dishes. Bon appetite.

Par 3 and the Lodge at Poplar Creek, San Mateo Located at the stunning Poplar Creek Golf Course, Par 3 is the newest venture from local entrepreneur Alicia Petrakis. When Petrakis, owner of the nearby Three, saw an opportunity to give the golf course's bar and grill a facelift, she knew it was a venture she couldn't pass up. While once a watering hole for those enjoying a few rounds of golf, Par 3 is all about creating a space for visitors and locals alike to enjoy. From their gorgeous dining room and bar to the private event space overlooking the creek, Par 3 keeps it a local affair and prides itself on making authentic plates using community-sourced ingredients. It’s not a surprise both of Petrakis’ eateries are As Fresh As It Gets Award recipients.


Pasta Moon, Half Moon Bay Sitting on the breathtaking coast along Half Moon Bay, Pasta Moon set out over 30 years ago to make a difference in the community through their farm-to-table approach, and they haven’t looked back. An excellent example of As Fresh As It Gets, Pasta Moon changes its menu seasonally to ensure everything used is at its prime for enjoyment. Favorites like spaghetti, pizza, and eggplant parmesan are given a modern twist that’s both mouth-watering and eco-friendly; you can even check their website to see what’s in season. With everything made in-house, including gluten-free bread and pasta, you will taste the authenticity at Pasta Moon.

37 North, Burlingame While 37 North is, at first, a bit unassuming, don’t let that fool you. Located within Burlingame’s DoubleTree Hotel and just a stone’s throw from the airport, 37 North has set the standard high for hotel dining. Chef Paul Maloney brings a strong culinary background to the table and takes pride in serving only the finest ingredients. It's foodie folks like him that made it inevitable for San Mateo County to launch the As Fresh As It Gets program. An ideal example of the quality you’ll enjoy at 37 North is their appetizing morning buffet. Instead of the often predictable hotel breakfast, 37 North pulls out all of the stops with farm-fresh eggs, potatoes, meats, bagels,

Traditional Egg Breakfast at Par 3

Ali's Special at Par 3

drinks, and much more. 37 North is another shining example of As Fresh As It Gets and the dedication the culinary team has to providing the finest meal possible.

Dinah’s Poolside Restaurant, Palo Alto Slow down for a while when you visit Dinah’s Poolside Restaurant and Bar in affluent Palo Alto. At Dinah’s, also a boutique hotel, the poolside dining experience offers guests the chance to unwind and soak in the tropical ambiance that surrounds them. Enjoy one of Dinah’s exquisite meals and drinks as you overlook the pool at this Gold Award winner of As Fresh As It Gets. As the warmer months approach, happy hours and events, many with live music, become the norm and make for the ideal summer hangout in this Stanford University town.

Dine As Fresh As It Gets in San Mateo County With winter bidding farewell, menus in the county will be preparing fresh, new foods as they welcome spring. Submissions will soon be open for this year's As Fresh As It Gets hopefuls on their website. The next time you find yourself on the California Coast, do yourself a favor and dine As Fresh As It Gets in San Mateo County.


The Crayeres of Maison Ruinart – A 300-year-old Tradition By Robyn Nowell

glass of champagne, glorious scenery, and a historic chateau are all signs that you are in the champagne region of France which boasts more then 260 champagne houses and over 50,000 different labels. Choosing which champagne house to visit can be overwhelming, but if opulence, history, and grandeur are on your wish list, then Maison Ruinart will not disappoint.


Maison Ruinart 
 Maison Ruinart is situated in the Champagne Region of France close to the city of Reims. Famed for its cathedral where at least 25 kings of France had been crowned. Reims is the stopping-off point for any visit to the region.Founded in 1729, by Nicolas Ruinart, the first champagne house Maison Ruinart sits majestically atop the legendary chalk caves, where centuries-old wine making traditions collide with the darker chapters of the great war.

The Caves
 To get to the cellar located 125 feet below ground, you descend 139 well-lit steps to access the five-mile network of intersecting tunnels and enormous carved out rooms. Nicolas Ruinart used the caves to


house his champagne, and have been in use for cellaring continuously until today. UNESCO named the champagnes region’s crayeres (caves) a World HeritageSite in 2015, supporting the underground heritage of the area. The crayeres of Reims, including those belonging to Ruinart, saved the residents of the city during the World War I. The sixth-generation owner Andre Ruinart invited neighbours to shelter from the German shelling. Within the caves of Reims— there are over 200 miles in total—daily life continued as schools and hospitals opened and operated down there. Monsieur Ruinart moved his office into the crayeres during this time, also.

Cave Tour As you descend the atmospherically lit stairs into the large galleries, you’ll note the cathedral-like atmosphere, cool and dark, with vaulted ceilings. It

Photos (top): Pouring


(left-to-right) Stairway to the caves; Descending farther into the caves; Following lines into

the caves

is awe inspiring to see the millions of dusty bottles. Today 40 or so people work in the crayeres, turning each bottle ever so gently so as not to disturb any sediment too greatly. The scene has been described as millions of sleeping toddlers. The cool quietness lulls you into a calm sense of being. You cannot hear any external noises, and the silence almost demands that you remain quiet or at the very least talk in a whisper. It seems inappropriate to break this sense of calmness that overcomes you. All too quickly the tour comes to an end. After you return above ground, it is time to enjoy the opulence of the tasting rooms. Every tour includes tastings.

Catered Meals Maison Ruinart also offers specially catered meals. I was fortunate enough to be invited to a sumptuous dinner, and our chef for the evening holds an acclaimed Michelin star. Exquisite tableware, service unequaled and food prepared and presented extravagantly provided a once in a lifetime experience. Each course was paired with matching wine, and, naturally, they featured champagnes from the Maison. Our meal was a leisurely experience enabling us to savor every bite and every sip of the accompanying wines.

To wander into the chalk quarries that act as Maison Ruinart’s cellars is to discover the beating heart of the champagne region and its wines & penetrate its very soul and its best-kept secrets – Maison Ruinart.

A remarkable aspect of a visit to Maison Ruinart is the passion every member of staff shares for their part in continuing the traditions of this extraordinary Maison. Our guide passionately shared the history of the caves, the ‘underground’ workers, gently with great attention turn each bottle. Champagne is poured with such reverence, not to waste a drop or pour in a manner that will ‘over excite’ the bubbles. Dining staff explain each dish including the origins of the ingredients. As the evening came to an end and we strolled outside in the late autumn cool, we reflected that people had been drinking this champagne and walking these paths for almost 300 years. Reims is easily accessible and is a mere 45 minutes from Paris via train. Tours of one day or longer are also available from Paris. Champagne region vineyards; Champagne bottles; Dom Ruinart 2004 vintage


The Ritz-Carlton Toronto— Luxury Dining Abounds By Nancy Mueller


et in Toronto’s vibrant entertainment and financial districts, the world-class RitzCarlton Toronto counts celebrities and performers, business leaders and global travelers among its diverse clientele. To meet the special culinary needs of their guests, the luxury hotel offers a variety of unique venues designed to elevate everyday dining into exceptional experiences.

bar’s signature liquid nitrogen cocktail. Patrons have their choice among several appealing selections, like Love Potion #9 or Pisco Pasión. I opt for classic simplicity with a flash of drama, the Ritz Bar Nitro Martini, with my vote for Hendrick’s Gin, a dash of Dolin Dry Vermouth, and Citrus Twist, “Elegantly stirred, served chilled to perfection in a frozen cocktail glass.” Perfection indeed.

Ritz Bar

Adding to his stellar hospitality, Francisco sends us off with his recipes for a classic Pisco Sour (“Shake until your poor arm hurts,” he says!), and accompanying Peruvian cancha snack, more familiar to us as toasted corn nuts. He also gifted us with a handwritten note for the ingredients of two cocktails — the Pretty Bird, “inspired by the notion and element of air,” and Deep Cove, “inspired by the amalgamation and unity of flora, fauna, land and ocean.” Just the names evoke

Exceptional experiences begin and end with impeccable, personal service, and The Ritz-Carlton’s legendary reputation of such does not disappoint, earning the hotel a Five-Star rating for the fifth consecutive year by Forbes Travel Guide 2020. At the stylish Ritz Bar, our Peruvian bartender, Francisco, demonstrates his wizardry at making the


images of the pristine beauty and captivating wildlife that grace the vast Ontario wilderness. Not in the mood for a cocktail? No worries. By day, Ritz Bar features a sweet and savory signature afternoon tea, complete with delectable tastes like Lobster and Crab Salad Sandwich, Smoked Salmon and Egg on Charcoal Bread, Vanilla Mousse Tian, and Caramel Ganache Cake. For a rare treat, ask for a serving of Black Ivory Coffee, with a flavor profile of chocolate and spice (“and everything nice”), together with hints of grass and cherry. Sold primarily to select luxury hotels around the world such as The RitzCarlton, the coffee is “naturally refined by Thai elephants.” Purchases of the distinctive coffee support the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation.

Toca Restaurant Italian cuisine partnered with locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients define the food fare at The Ritz-Carlton Toronto’s Toca Restaurant. In collaboration with the chef de cuisine and restaurant manager, renowned Rome-based Executive Chef Oliver Glowig oversees the menu featuring handcrafted pastas, like the restaurant's signature dish Ravioli Caprese, along with fresh seafood and over-the-moon desserts. Beyond the main dining room and Bistro, Toca offers a variety of singular dining experiences.

Cheese Cave Begin your extraordinary dining experience at the Cheese Cave, a 65-square-foot, entirely glass-walled structure set within the restaurant. The only one of its kind in Canada, the Cheese Cave was created to reflect the different kinds of cheeses available in Ontario and other Canadian Provinces, along with those of international origins (France, Spain, UK) that complement Toca’s menu. Temperature-controlled at 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit), the Cave generally holds a selection of 20-25 hard cheeses at any one time. Always on hand among the aromatic, flavorful cheese selections are Parmesan, Pecorino, Manchego, Barolo, and Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar. The latter is characterized by its salty, potato taste, evocative of the Prince Edward Island seaside from which it hails.

Chef Danieli Trivero

chef de cuisine can personalize the experience for charity events and special celebrations, such as wedding tastings, anniversaries, and other milestone moments. Resident artist, Jacqueline Poirier, aka “The Crazy Plate Lady,” creates magical memories from the outset with her fun, hand painted charger plates featuring scenes of animals, celebrities, food and drink, and local landscapes. Our evening tasting experience revealed several wondrous surprises, beginning with Baccala (potato chips, olive oil), paired with “Saint Martin” Domaine Laroche Chablis 2016, followed by three more delectable courses and wine pairings. Each dish was exquisitely prepared and presented, though the fresh taste of Scallop (red pepper pesto and fresh herbs) and tender Lamb Loin & Braised Shoulder (creamy polenta, rapini puree) were standouts. For dessert? Here the “Novalia” Recioto Della Valpolicella Classico paired perfectly with a spectacular Chocolate mousse crémeux se gianduja chocolate, hazelnut crémeux and sauce.

Chef’s Table

Capping off the evening’s festivities, we added our names to the restaurant wall tiles, a fitting finale to an unforgettable Toca dining experience, thanks to chef de cuisine, Daniele Trivero, his kitchen crew, and our sommelier, Penny, who sent us off with these wise parting words: “Always enjoy wine!”

Toca guests seeking a more intimate, interactive experience will love dining at the Chef ’s Table, set within the restaurant’s bustling kitchen where the

For more information, visit The Ritz-Carlton Toronto website.

For your own Cheese Cave experience, sign up for a tour, offered daily at 5:30 p.m.


Photos (opposite page, clockwise from top left)

Pecorino; Chocolate Mousse; Barolo;

Domaine Larouche; Fregola salad;

Lamb loin and braised shoulder


Gilbert, Arizona~ An Unexpected Treat for the Food and Wine Lover By Cori Solomon

ilbert, Arizona, has become the fastest-growing city in the Phoenix area. As you walk down Gilbert Rd in the heart of Gilbert’s Heritage District, you can see why. Not only is the town popular with snowbirds, especially those from Canada, but the good school systems also attract many families. Knowing this, you’ll want to check out the town, and, of course, you must check out the dining, wine, and bar scene in Gilbert.


Restaurants, wine bars, and a speakeasy have revitalized the Heritage District. Almost every establishment has an outdoor patio, and the place is hopping with singles, couples, and families all the time, but especially on weekends. Exemplifying the farm-to-table concept, Gilbert also features an Agritopia, a 166-acre mixed-use, planned community focusing on agrarianism. Developed by Joe Johnston, it is a mixture of homes, cottages, bungalows, an urban farm, a community garden, and several restaurants. The latest addition is Barnone, which features restaurants, a wine bar, and other artisan craftspeople. You might call Agritopia an incorporated urban village. An old silo for hay now covered in recycled aluminum for World War II planes, Barnone has a unique design that will draw you in to discover what lies inside.

The Uprooted Kitchen It was a treat to discover The Uprooted Kitchen, a plant-based eatery owned by Chad and Erin Romonoff. Erin started as a pastry chef and Chad as an occupational therapist. They began in 2012 with a food truck and, for four years, serviced Gilbert’s


Chickpea Scramble at The Uprooted Kitchen; Kale Salad at Postino East; Entree at Nico Heirloom Kitchen; Liberty Market Apricot Glazed Chicken with Roasted Cauliflower Mash; Hamburger and salad at Arizona Wilderness Brewery; Wine and menu at Nico Heirloom Kitchen

Farmers Market. They planted their roots in the Barnone because of its like-minded focus. A portion of the produce used in their cooking comes from the Agritopia farm. Everything else is locally grown and is organic. The vegan cuisine is unique, delicious, and colorful. The Chickpea Scramble was yummy, as were the unusual array of desserts. There is a southwestern flair to the cuisine, but for those with dietary issues, Erin and Chad love to accommodate.

Garage-East Also featured at the Barnone is Garage - East, a wine bar and tasting room which combines the talents of Todd and Kelly Bostock, owners of Dos Cabezas Wineworks with those of Brian (a retired fire chief) and Megan Ruffentine. The two couples use the Dos Cabezas grapes that grow in both Wilcox and Elgin to produce their wines. Since they live in an agricultural area, they utilize fruit in various stages of the fermentation process of their wine. For example, the Garage-East Breakfast wine consists of citrus fermented with white wine and carbonated. It is their take on a Mimosa. They produce their Pinot Gris like a Ramato, where the juice is macerated on their skins and provide the wine with its copper color. My first favorite was Ray Rd, a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano, and Syrah that ages for 24 months. Grapes come from the Cimarron Vineyard in Wilcox. The wine delivers a bright texture with a


spicy and peppery finish. Next, the smoothly balanced Higley Rd, a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Counoise, Cabernet Franc and Tempranillo also ages for 24 months and comes from the Cimarron Vineyard. Finally, the Red Blend is a tribute to Spain, France, and Italy with its more unusual blend of Montepulciano, Barbera, and Aglianico. Enjoy any one of these wines or include them in flight.

Arizona Wilderness Brewery Although the Arizona Wilderness Brewery features craft beer made from wild-grown and farm-grown products, it is Gilbert’s first brewery. The food and wine list are worth the visit. Everything is Arizona local, including the beef used in their burgers. Their eclectic menu includes sandwiches, salads, tacos, duck fat fries, and of course, their signature burgers.

The Gilbert House Restaurant Located in a charming home-like setting, Gilbert House is a family-owned diner-style restaurant serving breakfast and lunch. The restaurant is popular for brunch.

Tobo Reminiscent of the 1950s or 1960s Americana roadside architecture, Tobo offers burritos, roasted corn, and vanilla or prickly pear soft ice cream. Add chocolate, lime, or prickly pear dip to your ice cream. This establishment beckons you with its iconic mole that sits atop the building. Think of the Three Chipmunks, and you have Tobo's mole.

Bartenders at The White Rabbit; Barnone at the Agritopia; Topo for Cactus Ice Cream

Liberty Market

The White Rabbit Bar

Situated in a building dating back to 1935, Liberty Market is a joint venture between Chef David & Kiersten Traina and Gilbert restaurateur Joe & Cindy Johnston. Liberty Market is a lively restaurant frequented by locals. The offer everything from expresso to homemade pastries, so you can stop by any time of the day. Try the Chicken in Apricot Sauce, one of the menu staples, for a delightful meal. Place your order, take a number, and your server will bring the food to you.

Gilbert has a speakeasy, and it is a fun place to hang out. To enter, you must find the secret door and provide a password. As you climb down the stairs to The White Rabbit, you think of Alice in Wonderland and the White Rabbit going down the rabbit hole. Once inside, you find yourself in a different world— Prohibition meets the Roaring 20s. Find cocktails, wine, beer, and some food. White Rabbit features upscale bar food plus desserts. The menu includes a meat and cheese board, artisan flatbreads, Rabbit food, and more. You might want to check out White Rabbit when there is nighttime musical entertainment.

Nico Heirloom Kitchen Nico is Gilbert’s first upscale restaurant, and it features Italian cuisine. By far a favorite, Nico’s food is exceptional, and the service excellent. From homemade pasta to fresh seasonal dishes, many of the menu items come from heirloom family recipes.

Postino East Postino means postman in Italian, and it got its name because this first restaurant/wine bar of the five Arizona Postinos is located in a 1940s post office building. You’ll find a wine bar with an extensive and excellent selection of wines from around the world. The food ranges from panini sandwiches and charcuterie boards to salads and more. You can enjoy many of these wines by the glass, so on a beautiful day, enjoy sitting outside for lunch or dinner and a glass of wine. It is a delightful setting to enjoy a glass of wine.


If you are visiting anywhere in the Phoenix vicinity, it is worth taking time to go to Gilbert to experience the local flair and excellent dining and bar options. Gilbert is Arizona’s best-kept secret for foodies. You will not leave hungry.

Note: Common to the travel industry, this writer was hosted to several (not all) of the meals in Gilbert Arizona. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.

Luscious Lake Charles By Kathleen Walls


f you are looking for a great food and spirits destination, Lake Charles in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, is hard to beat. The best part is that all the local food and drink has a unique story. Here's a food map for your days in Lake Charles.

Crying Eagle pizza

Dining Start your day at The Bekery for b r e a k f a s t . O w n e r Re b e k a h Hoffpauir bakes everything fresh. You'll find croissants, scones, muffins, cookies, cakes, brownies and even gelato. The quiche is fantastic. As soon as you drive up and see the outside patio with the great fire pit, you'll feel welcome. When Susie and Darrell DeRouen opened Darrell’s in


1985 as a bar that ser ved sandwiches, they had no idea how popular it would become. Darrell's is the place locals go for a Po ' B o y. Yo u c a n g e t t h e traditional roast beef or shrimp, but Darrell’s Special, a Po' Boy made with ham, turkey, roast beef and gravy, is the top seller. I added jalapeño mayo and the result was spectacular and oh so m e s s y. O n e o f D a r r e l l 's trademark questions is, "How many napkins did you use?”

Chef Dave Evans' Luna Bar and Grill combines California and Louisiana food, which they call “Cali-ana.” The place is filled with musicians' posters. The dishes get named for family and friends. He told us, "One of the coolest parts of this job is I get to walk around among all my favorites — my favorite bands, my state flag, and my favorite artists. I get to make everything up so it's a really neat thing. As for the food, I want to make up my own rules. I have a little twist to everything.”

Restaurant Calla is a modern tapas restaurant with Louisiana specialty cocktails and a large variety of wines. Blue Crab Beignets and Bone Marrow (toast with capers, herbs and onion jam) were among the interesting appetizers I sampled.

don’t open until five; I get here a b o u t 1 1 . " Ma y b e t h a t contributed to our enjoyment of his pork belly, beef tenderloin and crab dishes. His demo of Alligator with Andouille Sausage Sauce at the Southern Cast Iron Cook Off was a hit.

Vi l l a Ha r l e q u i n c o m b i n e s traditional Italian with steak house and brings together two of the oldest restaurant families in Lake Charles. Chef Amanda Cusey began life in various Un i te d S t a te s c i t i e s b e f o r e moving to Ireland. She trained as a French chef in Le Cordon Bleu at t h e Ta n t é Ma r i e C u l i n a r y Ac a d e m y i n E n g l a n d . He r experience varies from British pubs to Italian cooking in Dublin. In Lake Charles, she combines Italian and French cooking with Louisiana food, creating dishes like Dirty Risotto and Turtle Tortellini.

If you want to get more upscale at L’auberge Casino, try Ember Grille & Wine Bar. The stone fireplace with its blazing fire and comfortable seating draws you in. Unique dishes like tender Lamb Lollies and Blue Crab Beignets do not disappoint.

Jack Daniels at L’auberge Casino Resort is the spot for steaks and Cajun dishes. It's presided over by award-winning Chef Lyle Broussard. Chef Lyle got his love of cooking watching his grandmother cook. He was later Certified Chef de Cuisine through the Culinary Institute of America. Attention to detail and a love of Louisiana cuisine make his dishes special. He noted, "We



When you're cooking at home and want Cajun food, B and O Kitchen and Grocery is the place to go. It has been owned and operated by the Benoit family since 1983. Whenever you visit, you'll find a family member making boudin, sausage, and cracklings, or smoking meat.

Boombox owner, Nick Villaume, names his hand-made gourmet frozen pops and ice cream after eighties songs and bands. Enjoy a "With or Without Brew" or a "Sweet Child of Lime." Spirits Bayou Rum Distillery produces Louisiana's favorite spirits from molasses produced by the United

States' oldest family-owned sugar mill. In 2011, brothers Trey and Tim Litel and their friend Skip Cortese decided to make use of sugar cane, one of Louisiana's most plentiful crops. Two years later they opened Bayou Rum Distillery in Lacassine near Lake Charles. Two of the biggest eye-catchers are the shining copper distilling tank and a mural painted by Skip’s brother, Peter Cortese. It shows a rum-running operation on the bayou at a Cajun house on stilts with a shining copper still, with T-Boy (little boy), in his pirogue (a long, narrow canoe), delivering rum. Jamison Trouth knew he wanted to make vodka from Louisiana cane sugar ever since his senior year of college. Seven years later he sold everything and opened Yellowfin Vodka, producing his first professional vodka in April of 2017. The name reflects his love of spearfishing and his favorite catch, yellowfin tuna. Crying Eagle Brewery serves craft beers in its two-story taproom and a landscaped, outdoor beer garden. Hand-rolled pizzas are available in the Bistro. Their tour guide and lead bartender, Sean Mahan, explains how the brewery began just over three years ago.

The Avery family had the cash and Bill Mungai, the brew master with the skills, combined their assets. Crying Eagle is the translation of “Calcasieu,” a word from the l a n g u a g e o f a l o c a l Na t i v e American tribe, Atakapa. Some beer names have a local flavor. Pistol Bridge Porter is named for the Pistol Bridge, the nickname for the WWII Memorial Bridge. The bridge motif is crossed derringers relating to the earliest days of Calcasieu Parish when it was

Photos (left-toright): B&O Kitchen & Grocery; Bayou Rum still; Crying Eagle bartender Sean with Tom Petty, the cat; Yellowfin owner at still

known as No Man’s Land and people like Jean Lafitte, the pirate, roamed the area. He would have been very familiar with dueling derringers. Another colorfully named beer, “Don't Blush," is my favorite. It is a raspberry passion fruit Berliner Weisse, a slightly sour, German style beer. The brewery's cat, Tom Petty, is their resident pest control. Their general manager, a big Tom Petty fan, wasn't a cat person. Whether it's his name or not, the GM is now fond of the cat.

Coffee Finish up with Acadian Coffee Ro a s t e r s . Tw o women entrepreneurs, Nancy Kirby and Nancy Holmes, roast top-grade beans from around the world to provide the perfect coffee experience with the only certified organic coffee roasted in Southwest Louisiana. (Check out the sidebar for more information.) For more information: Visit Lake Charles

The Coffee Ladies Nancy Kirby and Nancy Holmes are called "The Coffee Ladies." While they have been roasting coffee for about 12 years, they once worked together at a big printing company. The Acadian part of the name comes from Nancy Holmes who is of Acadian descent. "It is a very big part of my life. I grew up on what we call coffee milk—milk, sugar and a little bit of coffee. My favorite memories are going to my grandmother's house and having coffee milk." They went to coffee roasting school and bought their first roaster online. They started as a hobby and had a few customers, mostly friends and family. When the printing company shut down, they decided to continue it as a business. Holmes explained, "Being organic is a big deal. We are audited every year and have to do the same procedures as a big company. We are very proud of that certification. We are now branching out and do a conventional coffee which is not organic.” Most of their coffee beans come from Central and South America but some are purchased from Africa. Kirby explained, "Coffee is graded just like wine. We only buy the beans that are specialty grade." She continued, "Coffee is one of the highest traded commodities on the market. It ranks second after oil. We watch the market every day to buy." The two Nancys;

Roasting the coffee beans


Baja California’s Newest Cuisine: Valle de Guadalupe Restaurants Leading the Way

By Robin Dohrn-Simpson


ome call it campestre, some call it Baja California cuisine, and some refer to it as Baja-Med. Regardless of the nomenclature, it’s a unique culinary fusion that’s hyperlocal, whether harvested from the harsh and grudging Baja California terroir or the bounty of the surrounding seas. The epicenter of a gastronomic upheaval is happening in Valle de Guadalupe. Located an hour-and-a-half drive from San Diego and a mere 15 minutes from the port city of Ensenada, this rustic wine region is filled with beautiful scenery, amazing architecture, olive trees, sage scrub brush, wineries,and creative world-class cuisine.


Here are four restaurants and restaurateurs my husband and I see as leading the way in this magnificent foodie region.

Finca Altozano and Animalón Javier Plascencia may be a laid-back surfer dude, but he’s also quite the entrepreneur. He comes from a restaurant family in Tijuana, and a lifetime of working and cooking in their restaurants. In 2012, he branched out into Valle de Guadalupe and opened Finca Altozano, an outdoor country steakhouse that features an on-site herb and vegetable garden, a sheep farm, and fresh seafood. This rustic brasserie, is wallless, constructed from large wooden beams that crisscross the dining area. This allows diners to enjoy

Photo (opposite): Baja Omakase seabass nigiri; (left to right) Animalon lobster tallarin; Finca Altozano octopus; Finca Altozano grilled quail

All photos courtesy of W. Scott Koenig at

the beautiful surrounding mountain and vineyard scenery. The seafood menu features oysters and the iconic Chocolate Clams, famous throughout Baja. Another seafood highlight is octopus. An octopus tasting alone would make for a fun foodie trip. The grill menu features Beef Brisket, New York Steak, and Oven- Baked Beef Ribs. Today I enjoyed the House-Made Sausage. Mexican food aficionados can enjoy the house specialties of wood-fired tacos, beef chorizo, and tamales cooked in banana leaves with adobo sauce. On property, and under a 200-year oak tree, Javier has created a new seasonal pop-up project called Animalón. The focus is globally influenced cuisine i n s p i r e d b y Fr a n c o -A f r i q u e , In d i a , t h e Mediterranean, and Southeast Asia. Chef de cuisine Oscar Torres hailing from Los Angeles, serves three, five or eight course tasting menus allowing patrons to enjoy his culinary whims. Menus change monthly as new ingredients come into season. For current menus go to

Lunario Restaurant Located on the grounds of Lomita Winery, Lunario Restaurant is a new project of winer y owner Fernando Perez Castro and chef Sheyla Alvarado. Lomita boasts two restaurants; Traslomita, a casual eatery that operates during the day, and Lunario, open for dinner Thursday through Sunday featuring fine dining with smaller plates. Chef Alvarado, an upand-coming talent and only 29 years old, hails from


Sonora and is updating the Mexican classics with an international touch. The menu offers either six or eight-course chef ’s dinner that pair with Lomita and Finca Carrodilla wines. The menu changes daily. My chef ’s dinner included chile relleno; Striped bass aguachile (ceviche); soft shell crab taco with mole pipian (pumpkin seed); and beef loin with a cauliflower puree roasted kolrabi. Dessert featured house-made chocolates and a pineapple-fermented tepache gel with olive oil ice cream.

Deckman’s en El Mogor and Baja Omakase Drew Deckman, a Michelin starred chef, originally from Georgia, has cooked all over the world. He began his Mexican journey in San Jose del Cabo but eventuall y relocated to Valle de Guadalupe. Deckman’s en El Mogor is an al fresco restaurant that does have a covered dining to help patrons escape the elements of the valley. The kitchen is outdoor and all cooking is over fire. Deckman and his staff are masters of cooking on a wood-fired grill and a clayhewn stove. It’s fun to watch a chef put tortillas on a large, multi-tiered griddle above the fire and warm them on both sides until crisped. All their wine, vegetables, herbs, olive oil and other ingredients are produced on their ranch or locally sourced. All fish and seafood are sustainable and are always from the Baja Peninsula. The salt is from San Felipe, cheeses are from Valle de Guadalupe or nearby Ojos Negro. All beef is from Mexico. They even recapture their wastewater to use for irrigation and recycle plastic, glass and metal wastes.

The menu changes almost daily and is designed to honor the elements of sky, sea and earth. It will always include seafood, quail and thick ribeye steaks sourced from Mexicali and Sonora. Chef Deckman’s big news is that Japanese cuisine chef Toshi Tsutada has joined him to create Baja Omakase, a sushi bar, located on the edge of the Mogor-Badan vineyard. The 12-seat bar has three seatings daily for the sushionly predominately raw menu. Chef Toshi shares the same philosophy of sustainability. Chef prefers striped sea bass chocolate clams, yellowtail, geoduck, sea barnacles and wagyu beef tartare. No salmon or blue fin tuna however. For daily menus and reservations go to:

Corazón de Tierra Translating as “Heart of the Earth”, this restaurant made San Peligrino’s Latin America 50 Best Restaurants list in 2016 and 2017. Chef/owner Diego Hernández creates a fixed course menu daily. Like other local chefs his food is hyper-local. The restaurant features a beautiful garden where they source vegetables and herbs, and meat from cattle raised in nearby ranches. They offer a wine pairing experience with meals featuring Vena Cava wines. The dining room is stunning and showcases colorful handstitched fabric f rom Oaxaca. One wall is retractable glass that opens to a patio overlooking the gardens. On a nice day, the wall retracts and beautifully handcrafted tables roll out onto the patio while patrons dine al fresco. Fo r r e s e r v a t i o n s a n d information go to: https://

(Top to bottom): Deckman’s Chef Drew Deckman; Animalon’s Chef Javier Plascencia; Baja Omakase

Chef Toshi Tsutada


These are but a few examples of cooking that are as distinctive, fresh, and sophisticated as any cuisine in the world. What are you waiting for?

Meet Our Contributors. . . Alison Abbott is an award-winning travel writer and photographer with a focus on sustainable shades of green living. As a Baby Boomer who loves adventure, she has swum with pink dolphins in the Amazon, crossed paths with grizzlies in Alaska and ventured to Chernobyl in Ukraine. She is an AFAR local expert and frequent contributor to new media publications. Jane Simon Ammeson writes about food, travel, wine and is also the author of 13 books including her most recent—Lincoln Road Trip: The Back-Road Guide to America’s Favorite President and How to Murder Your Wealthy Lovers and Get Away with It: Money and Mayhem in the Gilded Age. Jane’s home base is on the shores of Lake Michigan in Southwest Michigan but she’s willing to go anywhere for food and wine. L.M. Archer is a fine wine, food, travel and lifestyle writer specializing in Burgundy, bubbles, and emerging wine regions.

Pam and Gary Baker are freelance food, wine and travel writers based in Northern California. They’ve written for regional, national, and international publications including Upscale Living, Edible Sacramento, International Living, Via Magazine, Porthole Cruise, Northwest Travel and Life, Food Wine and Travel Magazine and Australia & New Zealand Magazine Cultural traveler Anita Breland chases tasty plates and memorable experiences, on a quest for the world’s good food and the people who make it. She and her husband, photographer Tom Fakler, serve up the long-running blog Anita’s Feast and contribute to numerous international publications.


Debbra Dunning Brouillette, associate editor of Food, Wine, Travel Magazine, enjoys savoring food and wine wherever her travels take her. She has been published in a wide range of print and online media including Ft. Worth StarTe l e g r a m , A A A Ho m e & Aw a y, Evansville Living, Getting on Travel, Johnny Jet, TravelWorld, Joseph Rosendo’s Travelscope, Travel Squire, and her own site, Tropical Travel Girl. Christine Cutler is a writer, photographer, editor, guide, teacher, traveler, Ohio native, Nevada resident, and world citizen. She maintains her own w e b s i t e s C o l d Pa s t a a n d Re d Wine and Christine Cutler, is on the board of IFWTWA, and is executive editor of IFWTWA publications. Chris is a member of North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA), Travel Massive, TravMedia, Phi Kappa Phi, and Nonfiction Authors Association. MaryRose Denton is a freelance writer, traveler, licensed massage therapist, yoga teacher, lifelong vegetarian, and most importantly a mother. She has traveled overseas, exploring and visiting friends in their native homes allowing herself a deeper and richer understanding of human nature. She is a member of the In t e r n a t i o n a l Tr a v e l Wr i t e r s a n d Photographers Alliance, TravMedia, various writing groups. Find her. at or follow her on Instagram and FB, @maryrosedenton. As principal of A n d r e w T. D e r & A s s o c i a te s , L L C , A n d r e w w r i te s environmental guidance for development companies and government agencies. He expanded to include environmental and tra vel journalism, and his interests include nature and conser vation tourism, creative and cultural family experiences, eco-travel, and the. occasional offbeat experience. Diane Dobry worked for years in PR and now teaches online students. A Fulbright award to Germany led to i m p o r t i n g i n te r n a t i o n a l w i n e s , teaching an online international wine course and a year living in Hungary. She now manages “Getting Hungary” social media sites and a new website,

Robin Dohrn-Simpson is a San Diego-based wine, beer, food and travel writer. She suffers from an extreme case of wanderlust and is always out exploring. Robin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business and a Professional Certificate in the Business of Wine at San Diego State University. To see where she is currently exploring, check out her website—

Noreen Kompanik is a San Diego-based travel journalist. 450 of her articles have appeared in 38 digital and print p u b l i c a t i o n s . S h e ’s a r e g u l a r contributor for Travel Pulse, Europe Up Close, International Living, and more. She’s been a guest presenter at Great Escape Publishing’s workshops and pioneered a writer’s program, Travel Writer’s Café.

Mary Farah is a freelance travel, food and wine journalist based in Los Angeles. She's managed her website, Along Comes Mary, since 2012 with an emphasis on gluten-free travel. She proudly serves on the IFWTWA Board of Directors and is on the FWT Editorial Board.

Veronica Matheson grew up in England, and now lives in Australia. She has lost count of the countries she has visited, first hitching the world in a gap year, later as Travel Editor on a newspaper, and now as a reporter/ co-host on Travel Writers Radio. Her websites are and

The travel bug bit Joeann Fossland decades ago, and she has never recovered. A babyboomer free-spirit, she has visited 30 countries and 4 continents. Road trips, historic hotels, hot springs, tennis courts and roads less traveled, are her bliss. Her blog is M’Liss Hinshaw is a freelance travel writer who has a love for food from around the world. She likes to go behind the scenes and talk with chefs and proprietors about their business passions so she can share it with followers. Fi n d h e r p o s t s a t, and on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. Kurt Jacobson is a full time freelance travel, food, and wine writer. A semi-retired professional chef, Kurt brings his love of all things food to his writing. His most-visited and written about locations are Colorado, Alaska, Mid-Atlantic states, and Japan. Kurt is also a competent photographer, and most of his published work features his photos. You can find him at C h r i s t i n a K a n t z a v e l o s is currently a professional content writer and practicing licensed psychotherapist (LCSW) in San Diego. She also conducts humanitarian work both domestically and abroad as traveling and helping others to do the same is what fuels her soul.Completing the Camino de Santiago in November 2015 helped her realized her true passion for travel writing.


Lisa Morales is a marketing and public relations director by day and writer by night. Her “beats” are the visual arts, food and wine, and Art Basel Miami and satellite fairs. She has contributed to Wide wal ls, Food, Wine, Travel Ma ga z i n e , C u l t u r e Tr i p , a n d L a Ceramica in Italia e nel Mondo. Lisa cooks and blogs about her food and wine pairing adventures and travel and art escapes that are also found on Instagram #MyArtEscape @AllegoryPR. Nancy Mueller is a Seattle-based speaker, travel writer/photographer and author with an established media outlet at:, "fun travel adventures for the young at heart." Her bags are always packed for day trips, w e e ke n d g e t a w a y s a n d g l o b a l adventures. Client stories explore destinations through cruising, food & dining, arts & culture, health & wellness, outdoor adventures and bucket-list experiences. Robyn Nowell is a freelance writer and photographer based in Melbourne, Au s t r a l i a . Ro b y n h a s t r a v e l l e d extensively throughout Europe, Africa, USA, India and across Asia and the Pacific nations with published work in travel brochures, on-line, paper and infl i g h t m a g a z i n e s . A m e m b e r o f IFWTWA, social media manager and on the editorial board of FWT Magazine. A holder of Master, Gastronomic Tourism & Diplome Univeritiare du gout, de la Gastronomie et des Arts de la table.’

Janie Pace, loving life as a travel writer and photographer, is a native Texan from Fort Worth writing about restaurants, travel destinations, wineries, breweries, cruises and much more locally, nationally and internationally from Peru to Canada plus Hawaii to Bermuda. She is a member of the ITWPA, USPA, IFWTWA. Follow her at

L o r i S w e e t i s a f r e e l a n c e w r i t e r, photographer, podcaster and blogger based in Ontario, Canada. Along with her husband Sylvio Roy, they enjoy traveling the world writing about food, wine and travel. They share those experiences so that others can get the most from their own travel at VoyageWriters

A m y P i p e r i s a t r a v e l w r i te r a n d photographer who had six-month expat assignments in South Korea and Argentina. Bomb-sniffing dogs chased her in the middle of the night in Bogota, gate agents refused her boarding to Paraguay, and Federal Marshalls announced her seat on a plane looking for a murder suspect (traded places.) It is always an adventure! Amy is on the editorial board of Food, Wine, Travel Magazine. Follow her adventures at

Kathleen Walls, former reporter for Union Sentinel in Blairsville, GA, is publisher/writer and photographer for American Roads and Global Highways. She is the author of travel books that include Georgia's Ghostly Getaways, Finding Florida's Phantoms, Hosts With Ghosts, and Wild About Florida series. Her articles appear in Family Motor Coaching Association Magazine, Food Wine Travel Magazine, Big Blend Radio and Magazine, and others.

Valerie Estelle Rogers is a freelance travel writer, based in Oregon. Her work appears in northwest publications such as 1859, Northwest Travel and Life, and Oregon Wine Press. She is an avid traveler and guides small groups on European adventures. She enjoys writing about memorable downtowns, wine experiences, solo travel, and great restaurants.

Priscilla Willis is a freelance writer and author of the website She’s Cookin’ | food and travel. Priscilla specializes in culinary travel and light adventure to burn those calories. She recently traded 30 years of urban living in SoCal beach paradise for a quieter life surrounded by nature in the Ozarks Mountains of North West Arkansas.

Cori Solomon, an award-winning freelance writer/photographer, resides in Los Angeles, California. Her writing focuses on travel, art, food, wine, and pets. Her art plays a vital role in her writing as she utilizes the palette both visually and verbally in many of her articles. In addition to writing her blog, The Written Palette, she is a contributor to Big Blend Magazine, FWTMagazine, SommTable, Vinely, and Wander with Wander.

From “For the Love of Pasta” (p58) Did you guess correctly? The meatballs made with pork and beef are in the photo on left The polpette— made with breadcrumbs, cheese, and egg—are on the right.


Associate Editors Noreen Kompanik, Debbra Dunning Brouillette, and Executive Editor Chris Cutler

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